The rate of innovation that has taken place in 2019 has been astonishing to watch. Regardless of what industry it is that you’re part of, you’re bound to have seen some incredible changes over the past twelve months.
An industry that’s been completely flipped on its head is the healthcare industry. As Forbes notes, there has been an astounding rate of innovation and development in this industry in the last year. One key way that this has presented itself in the sector is the rise of telemedicine.
But what exactly is telemedicine? And why is it relevant now more than ever? That is precisely what we’re going to be taking a look at in this blog post today.
Here at the Grapevine, we’re intrigued by the latest and greatest in technology, entertainment and media- so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write about this fascinating area of innovation. We’re going to be taking a look at telemedicine in depth today- what it is, why you should care and where telemedicine could go in the future.
What is telemedicine?
First things first, what exactly is telemedicine?
The best definition that we found for it online was in this Healthcare Weekly article. It states that telemedicine is ‘a collective term for the usage of digital avenues and other telecommunication technologies to facilitate long-distance healthcare access for patients and improve the quality of healthcare’.
To put it plainly, telemedicine is the facilitation of long-distance healthcare and support for patients that revolves around the internet and modern technologies, such as smartphones, watches and AI-powered voice assistants.
Due to the rise in popularity of these types of technologies, telemedicine has become much more popular. It’s disrupting a number of other sectors, such as public healthcare, research, education and health administration.
What types of telemedicine services are there?
As with any area of healthcare and technology, there are some key sections of telemedicine that it’s important to know about. These include, but are not limited to;
● Store-and-forward telemedicine. As pointed out in this Chiron Health post, this type of telemedicine involves sharing key patient information in a confidential manner with experts located at another facility.
● Telemonitoring. This form of telemedicine involves remotely monitoring a patient to keep an eye on their health. It is commonly used with patients who suffer from heart problems or chronic conditions.
● Real-time telemedicine. Video calls and digital doctor visits are very popular nowadays. However, it’s very important that they’re done through verified software and not platforms like Skype for patient confidentiality.
This list is not exhaustive of course, as telemedicine techniques are constantly growing and being developed as the healthcare industry catches on to the practice.
What are the benefits of telemedicine?
One key benefit of telemedicine is that it makes healthcare more accessible for patients, both in the sense of physical accessibility and financial accessibility. The costs of medical treatments can creep up on a patient suddenly, so being able to access advice and support remotely can be very beneficial.
Additionally, it makes health care much more accessible for people who might struggle to get out of the house, perhaps due to disabilities or other people that they might have to look after.
Another important benefit of telemedicine is that it helps provide remote support in areas that might get neglected normally, like mental health care. Remote counselling and therapy projects are very popular nowadays, and telemedicine is making huge strides in this area. We wrote an article about a therapist chatbot lately, take a look here to see how it works.
How is telemedicine being used in the modern world
The best way that telemedicine is being used in the modern world is with the latest IoT work and smart technology. Products like smart watches and voice assistants offer plenty of great telemedicine options, like remote patient monitoring through watches. When researching this part, we found this whitepaper by Orthogonal to be a great source of information.
Telemedicine is also being used to host digital client consultations between doctors and patients, as we’ve stated earlier in this post. It’s becoming more and more common nowadays as more healthcare professionals become more open to new technologies.
How are consumers reacting to telemedicine?
Generally speaking, the public seems to be reacting well to the rise of telemedicine. It’s being spoken about a lot in the media and on social media, and there doesn’t seem to be a hugely negative reaction to the development.
One concern that some people express is that telemedicine may break confidentiality rules or put patients at risk of losing their data. This is especially true in regards to remote monitoring- the fear of hackers or breaches is a very real concern for many members of the public.
Where could telemedicine go in the future?
The healthcare and technology industries are constantly evolving, and with this, telemedicine is sure to be soaring to even greater heights in the next decade. Smart technology and the IoT are huge topics in the industry right now, and it’s intriguing to think where they might be in the future. Products like smart glasses are certainly going to be important to keep an eye on.
Mobile apps appear to be a potential source of even further development in the world of telemedicine, as Forbes notes. There are apps being developed that can help diagnose illnesses and fulfill medical paperwork requirements digitally, which is incredible.
To sum up
As you can see, telemedicine has the potential to completely disrupt the world of healthcare and medicine. It’s inspiring to see so many creative minds in the industry using new technologies to deliver healthcare to a wider audience, and it will be fascinating to see where this goes in the future.
Did you enjoy this article? Are you looking to read more about technology, innovation and entertainment? If so, make sure to check out the rest of our content. Here at the Grapevine in Birmingham, we are constantly looking for the most interesting, alternative sources of entertainment and news to bring to our audience.