In a 21st century world that is constantly changing, whether it be technologically, socially or however; As a society we try to acclimatize and find the best ways to adapt and advance. Arguably the most drastic change the world has experienced is how it took humans 200,000 years to reach a population of 1 billion and then only a further 200 years to reach 7 billion. This has borne the necessity to introduce new methods to answer the many problems we face in life.
One such problem currently being faced is “How do we ensure that everybody around the world has access to the same level of healthcare” – The answer to this is Telemedicine.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is simply using technology to allow doctors, specialists and many other medical advisors to connect with a patient and advise through an electronic medium with the sole purpose of helping to improve the patient’s health.
Telemedicine is a technology that has been around for over 40 years but has advanced more rapidly most recently and is shaping up to be the future of medical consultation.
What are the benefits of Telemedicine?
Although telemedicine is still in its infancy, its adoption rate among medical practices across Canada and America has continued to gain popularity with what is believed to be over 50% of practices now offering a telemedical service in some shape or form.
You may be asking what the benefits of Telemedicine are: -
- Improved Access – Whether a patient lives in a remote area or is housebound with no access to a doctor or whether their busy working life dictates they simply have no time to constantly travel to doctor’s appointments; People have struggled for centuries to gain access to a medical professional when they need it most. Telemedicine has the capacity to bring healthcare to any patient who requires it in an efficient manner.
- Increased Quality – What are the chances that the medical expert you require at that exact moment in time works at your regular clinic, or even in the same town! Telemedicine allows for a patient to be able to speak to the exact professional they require. For example, with ourselves at NamasteMD, we allow people who require advice on medical cannabis to sign up and receive advice on medical cannabis. Simple!
- Consumer Demand – Study after study shows that patient satisfaction has increased following a telemedical consultation when compared to a ‘red-brick’ consultation under similar circumstances. The major reason being a reduction in travel time and not having to sit and wait in a clinical waiting room. A recent Harvard study showed that a telemedical consultation only takes 20 minutes of a patient’s time compared to the 121 minutes a conventional appointment would take.
- Cost Efficient – The reduction in the cost of healthcare for the patient through efficiency, shared health professional staffing, reduction in appointment times and fewer hospital visits is important in the long run for a patient’s financial stability, with even a check-up in USA causing some patients the potential for life-changing debt. However, it also reduces the costs for the hospitals and clinics as well with an estimated saving of 19% overall for a patient treated by telemedicine compared to them visiting the hospital.
- Doctor Satisfaction – Healthcare providers are constantly under stress from the challenges provided within their work. Telemedicine has proven to add greater structure to a patient’s workflow from diagnosis to prescription or referral by designating them to the correct specialists. This means doctors aren’t faced with simple questions that can be handled by a nurse or by challenging questions outside their area of expertise and therefore feel more helpful overall.
Expect telemedical program to become the norm in the future mainly because of how they will increase doctor efficiency, which will ultimately allow practices to see more patients, reducing wait and travel times which makes the patient, the doctor and the clinic overall a happier place. It really does look like Telemedicine is the future of medical marijuana.