A fairly new-age term in the field of medicine – telemedicine – is the use of technology to assist in treating patients remotely. Typically, the technology used for these medical interventions is a smartphone, a laptop or a computer.
Telemedicine is definitely a controversial practice, as the element of being physically examined by a medical professional is absent from the consultation process.
An example of telemedicine is an online forum, or chat service that is run by doctors for patients. Patients can then describe their specific symptoms post pictures or descriptions of ailments so that a doctor can assess what is wrong from the given information. Another example is video calling a doctor, in the event that you cannot make it to the surgery due to unforeseen circumstances like bad weather or a lack of transport. Then, the doctor can advise on common medical problems such as headache, sore throat, back pain, digestive troubles explains eVisit.
This way of consultation has been utilised more in psychology, with chat rooms and chat applications where mental health professionals are on hand 24/7. It does become trickier with physical ailments though.
Telemedicine doctors can diagnose, and in many cases prescribe non-narcotic medication without seeing a patient in person, and this is made possible by video and image-sharing capabilities during a smartphone-based telemedicine interaction, explains Hippo Health.
Most people use Google to assume their symptoms, so having a doctor on hand instead, who can give you accurate information about your symptoms, without the added fear that blind-googling can bring is a very beneficial tool.
eVisit, the leading virtual clinic at the moment, calls Telemedicine practice: A system designed for efficiency. Making use of telemedicine services is very easy. The service uses an online account or a toll-free phone number. The site continues that patients request a visit, submitting basic information on their condition, and then the physician either accepts or declines the visit, or schedules it for the future. Telemedicine may, however, not be suitable for every practice or every situation. eVisits advises that before making use of it, doctors should assess the patient’s needs and make sure it’s an appropriate time to use the technology.