Telemedicine What is it for and how does it work?

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The coronavirus pandemic has brought about many changes and one of them is inpatient care. The closure or limitations of face-to-face medical consultations has given a strong boost to telemedicine, a form of medical care that has already grown significantly in recent years.

Therefore, telemedicine should not be seen only as a temporary solution, forced by current circumstances. When everything happens, telemedicine and its benefits will stay with us.

what is telemedicine

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) telemedicine is “the provision of health services (in which distance is a determining factor) by health professionals through the use of information and communication technologies ( ICT)”.

According to this same definition, its objective is “the exchange of valid information for the diagnosis, treatment, prevention of diseases, research and evaluation and for the continuous training of health professionals, all with the ultimate goal of improving the health of the population and the communities.

This definition makes clear the reason why telemedicine is growing so strongly: improvements in information and communication technologies. According to the Survey on Equipment and Use of Information and Communication Technologies in Households corresponding to 2019 published by the National Institute of Statistics, 91.4% of Spaniards have access to the Internet, 5% more than the previous year. Not only that, there has been a huge improvement in its speed and in the capacity of the devices, highlighting the mobile ones.

Pros and cons of telemedicine

Thus, although technological progress is an important boost to telemedicine, it also shows one of its limitations. One of the great advantages, of being able to assist patients in remote regions or places, is limited by having worse connections. As these become universal and better, they will become a very useful tool.

Telemedicine must also be considered not as a substitute for traditional medical consultations or services, but as a compliment that in many cases improves its efficiency, especially at the healthcare level.

Another important limitation is the protection of personal data. For all these reasons, communication and information storage systems must guarantee this protection.

Overcoming all these challenges, telemedicine helps to be more efficient in the allocation of medical resources, being able to subsequently escalate to face-to-face assistance if necessary.

Different types of telemedicine

And it is that telemedicine presents different modalities with an undoubted practical application:

  • Real-time telemedicine: It is the one in which the health professional interacts with the patient live through videoconference or other telematic means. 
  • Deferred telemedicine: It consists of telematically sending consultations or diagnostic tests. It is mainly used in non-urgent situations.
  • Patient monitoring: With this modality, patients with chronic diseases or ailments are controlled. Technological advances in devices that monitor data such as blood pressure, blood sugar levels, or heart monitoring make it possible to review that data when needed remotely.

 It is a  teleassistance service by chat and video call through which our clients have direct access to a wide network of general practitioners and specialists. In this way, we offer you the possibility of attending virtual consultations without having to go to a medical center.

Practical applications

With all these forms of interaction, a series of practical applications are achieved:

Medical consultations in general medicine and specialties: The different telemedicine applications in real-time allow the patient to connect quickly with a doctor, generally giving two types of consultations:

  • First consultations of a determined ailment: Allows a prior evaluation in which the doctor can diagnose, prescribe medication or make an appointment for a face-to-face consultation
  • Follow-up appointments: Especially in chronic patients or with a clear previous diagnosis in which the patient’s condition is checked and if there have been significant changes.

Emergency consultations: In this case, the relationship is not usually established both between patient and doctor, as well as between health personnel. Thanks to telemedicine, an emergency doctor, for example, can contact a hospital and advance both his first diagnosis and the tests he has taken, thereby improving treatment once he arrives at the hospital.

Telecare: Within the monitoring of the elderly or those with some type of disability that requires remote monitoring, the part related to health is of greater importance.

In this case, telemedicine benefits from technological advances that allow remote monitoring of important variables for many patients such as heart rates, glucose levels, blood pressure, etc.

In addition to all this, it also combines better access to emergency services or the monitoring of medical treatments.

In short, the new technologies, which have so much influence on the improvement of medicine and the best care of your Eye med health with telemedicine, also become an alternative that complements the relationship with your doctor.

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