In recent years, technology has been able to revolutionize nearly every aspect of our lives. It seems as though everything we do is made easier through technology, and this includes healthcare. Specific developments in technology have made healthcare, which was traditionally inconvenient and a privilege, more accessible and convenient than ever. Whether you are a patient or healthcare provider, understanding how technology can optimize healthcare is crucial to providing and receiving the healthcare that anyone and everyone deserves.
Remote Doctor’s Visits
Perhaps the most obvious way in which technology makes healthcare more accessible is through remote doctor’s visits. Enabled by telemedicine platforms, healthcare providers and patients can now meet through virtual visits. Such meetings allow patients to communicate with their physician in real-time while benefiting from a synchronous, remote visit.
Remote doctor’s visits are highly beneficial to both patients and physicians, mainly due to their increased access to specialists. As users are no longer limited by their geographical region, patients can access doctors from any location or time zone, opening them to specialists who could live across the country. The average patient cannot book a flight for a doctor’s visit and may even have trouble commuting into the next town for a qualified provider. For patients requiring the support of highly specialized doctors, eliminating the need to meet in person is essential. For this reason, remote visits are highly beneficial in connecting patients to the healthcare they need.
Even if a patient does not need the help of a specialist located significantly far away, commuting to traditional in-person appointments can be tedious and inconvenient. Many patients must utilize public transportation to get to their doctor or go hours away if they live in a rural area. In these cases, patients often have to take time off of work or sacrifice hours of their day for an appointment.
These commutes can be extremely taxing for patients with chronic conditions or injuries, making it challenging to return for frequent visits. Fortunately, with remote doctor’s visits, these challenges are no longer a problem. Instead, patients can easily access the healthcare they need through a patient portal, ensuring a timely and convenient healthcare visit.
One reason that patients with chronic conditions must come into doctor’s visits so frequently is to monitor and maintain certain aspects of their health, such as weight, blood pressure, heart rate, etc. While it is crucial to record this information, such frequent doctor’s visits can make patients feel like their lives revolve around their condition. Fortunately, technology in medicine has found a way to reduce the need for such regular visits while still maintaining such a level of monitoring.
Many medical devices now enable remote monitoring, allowing healthcare providers to monitor their patients’ health remotely. With remote monitoring devices, doctors can keep an eye on their patients’ health without requiring them to come in for a physical appointment on a weekly basis. For patients with chronic conditions, and even elderly patients and those with dementia, this is an instrumental tool.
The device will record relevant information, such as a spike in temperature, heart rate, or even a fall, and upload data to the telemedicine platform in real-time. As a result, doctors are notified of any pertinent changes and can get patients any help they may need. With such technology, patients can live their lives normally while assured that their doctor will be aware and able to help if anything occurs. No longer will patients have to arrange their lives around doctor’s visits or deal with a strenuous commute on such a frequent basis.
Network of Physicians
Another instrumental benefit of technology in healthcare is the network that it can create. With technology such as a telemedicine platform, patients and healthcare providers obtain access to a network of physicians. As patients can find the providers they need in any location, doctors can as well. In cases where one physician may require a second opinion from another specialist, they can refer to the telehealth network, find the specialist they need, and easily do so.
Traditionally, receiving a second opinion or asking another physician to consult on a case was time-consuming and could significantly delay diagnosis. Doctors would have to find a physician, physically mail patient records, and then wait days for their collaborator to review the case and respond. For patients in pain or waiting for answers, this wait could be highly stressful. Even for doctors, such a wait can create a significant backlog of patients, making it more challenging to manage their practice efficiently. Fortunately, this process is accelerated through technology, ensuring that doctors can work efficiently and patients get the care they need on time.
In addition to speeding up the process of obtaining a second opinion, receiving consultations is highly beneficial to both providers and patients. Doctors are more likely to provide an accurate diagnosis and treatment with a second opinion or consultation from another provider. Technology such as AI can ensure even further accuracy in diagnosis by offering doctors suggestions based on patient information and historical data. As a network of doctors will all be utilizing AI-enabled medicine on the same platform, this can also help to standardize patient care. Not only does this further accelerate diagnosis and care, but it also drastically improves accuracy and efficiency within a practice. As a result, patients receive enhanced care and are more likely to recover quickly and avoid future health problems.
Beyond the means of synchronous or real-time healthcare, patients require more care than what is offered in a real-time visit. Patients may have questions for their doctors outside of an appointment, and if unable to reach their provider, they could resort to searching online for answers which are often inaccurate. Fortunately, telemedicine applications facilitate asynchronous care, ensuring that patients receive the information and resources they need even outside of their doctor’s visits.
Through their patient portal, patients have access to their medical records, in which they can refer to their doctor’s notes. Additionally, they can read through relevant resources and FAQs, ensuring access to accurate information regarding their condition and treatment options. These resources make certain that patients can get the answers they need at any time through a trusted source. Furthermore, patients can even receive prescriptions through their telemedicine platform, ensuring that getting the medicine they need is possible and timely.
Technology is the Future of Medicine
In the past, adequate healthcare could be challenging to come by. If a patient with a unique condition needed a specialist, their options for care were limited, forcing them to spend significantly on travel or settle for a closer provider. As such, many patients were compromising and settling on their care due to poor access to healthcare. Fortunately, developments in technology are working wonders to make healthcare more accessible to all.
Technological tools such as telemedicine platforms can drastically improve access to healthcare, ensuring that all patients can obtain the care they need. By enabling remote doctor’s visits, access to reputable resources, a network of qualified physicians, and remote medical devices, healthcare is more accessible and efficient than ever. Now, patients can communicate with their doctors with ease - from any location. As such, there is no boundary for patients to receive the care they need.
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