Telemedicine is not a new concept, but only today has it really been adopted pervasively throughout the industry. With lockdown and additional measures being taken around the world, telemedicine has taken center stage in almost every area of medicine, from booking appointments and renewing prescriptions to mental healthcare and beyond.
It only stands to reason that telemedicine will be adopted more readily both by practitioners and by patients in the future, especially as its benefits are felt first-hand by patients everywhere.
Benefits of Telemedicine in Healthcare
Telemedicine or telehealth services refer to all the remote access services that can be used to improve patient care and healthcare capabilities. They are a particular benefit to those who live in remote areas, as well as those who operate on the go, for example, satellite clinics. By introducing telehealth on a national level, early detection will improve, diagnostics will improve, healthcare resources can be improved, and so much more. Telemedicine is the way forward; we just need to invest in the infrastructure necessary to protect health data and encrypt connections between doctors, nurses, and their patients.
Real-Time Medical Advice
With telemedicine, patients can be connected to a doctor or a nurse for simple sessions online and from the comfort of their own home. Simple diagnosis can be conducted, and test requests for more complicated cases can be scheduled.
Real-Time At-Home Data Collection
Sending machines to the patient for diagnostic purposes or for ongoing reporting can be done easily. Those with chronic conditions can have a professional monitor their vitals on a regular basis without requiring long journeys for appointments. This will provide those with chronic conditions greater freedom and better confidence in their health and care.
At-home diagnosis can be better completed with telemedicine tools, allowing doctors and nurses to provide actionable advice right from the patient’s home, without the long commute associated with a house call.
5G and Telemedicine
Telemedicine is particularly interesting in getting quality care out to those who live in remote locations. The challenge previously was an internet connection. Not having a strong signal to send data in real-time was a real challenge for telemedicine. With 5G, which promises lightning-fast speeds even in the most remote areas of the country, telemedicine can truly thrive, and better healthcare can be provided to all.
Telemedicine and the Future of Nursing
Nurses make up the bulk of healthcare. They are the front face of care. Though doctors provide the diagnosis and treatment, it is nurses who provide the recovery. Telemedicine, therefore, has huge implications for the nursing industry.
Improved Learning Opportunities
Telemedicine has greatly improved the educational opportunities for nurses around the country. Though all nursing degrees still require clinical work, today, they can be supported with truly innovative, in-depth education tools and resources to provide nursing students cutting edge training right in the classroom.
Nurses looking to particularly take advantage of the cutting-edge technology offered in the telemedicine field need to seek out a degree at an innovative university, particularly if they are redirecting their career into nursing.
The best BSN accelerated programs take advantage of telemedicine technology and work to prepare nurses for the future of nursing, not just nursing as it is today. Choosing a school well regarded for its innovation and its nursing education is the best way forward for anyone looking to further or start a career in nursing.
Telemedicine will improve healthcare simply by improving data collection and monitoring. With telemedicine, as well as a few simple programs, patients can rest assured that their physical health is monitored, even without a doctor looking over their vitals at every second. With telemedicine, the moment their blood pressure surpasses a pre-set threshold, that patient’s doctor will be notified so that action can be taken.
Improved Work/Life Balance
With telemedicine, the necessity of visiting the doctor’s office or hospital reduces significantly. This reduces wait times, improves patient care, and at the end of the day, will also improve the work/life balance of doctors and nurses everywhere.
Improved Patient Management
Early detection is key in practically every area of medicine. It can help you catch an issue long before it becomes inoperable or untreatable. In an ideal world, everyone will provide their vitals and undergo regular checks for the most common issues and any genetically inclined diseases. This way, if an issue arises, it can be spotted well in advance.
For now, patient management is mostly focused on those who have chronic conditions. It provides patients with greater freedom and peace of mind while also giving nurses and doctors space to breathe until vitals show an issue.
Improved Work Opportunities
Telemedicine also expands the options for nurses. With telemedicine becoming more popular, registered nurses will need to be available to handle online, video, or phone communications with patients. This will very likely mean quite a few RNs will find their jobs become remote, allowing them to work from home or to move outside of the city to enjoy more bang for their buck. Overall this is a great opportunity for nurses and provides more the ability to juggle a hectic work/life schedule.
Telemedicine Still Has a Ways to Go
Though powerful, telemedicine has not yet reached its prime. It is still not formalized in policy, meaning that there is not yet a global, or even national, set of standards for doctors to follow. With the advancement of machine learning, encryption, and other technologies like block-chain, however, it is not a matter of if telemedicine will become formally adopted, but when.
New policies will need to be implemented to help dictate telehealth etiquette, the digital safety requirements, telehealth ethics, HIPAA, and so much more.
Once the formalities have been sorted through, however, and a multitude of technologies are adopted to work together in telemedicine, the future possibilities are almost limitless — improved patient care, improved work/life balance, improved diagnosis, and so much more. Telemedicine is the future, and we are finally ready to embrace it.