Getting the help you need when you have a medical ailment can be difficult and expensive. Almost 50,000 preventable deaths every year could be avoided if people had insurance. Cost is not the only factor that limits Americans’ ability to seek treatment or get medical help. Some people do not feel comfortable going to see a doctor or nurse or may feel that their disorder is stigmatized in some way. Ninety percent of men with low testosterone, for example, do not get any help, and more than 80% of those with some form of depression do not seek out help or treatment. Given that as many as a quarter of all Americans have suffered from pain that lasts longer than 24 hours and acute pain impacts millions more, the need for accessible, easy to use healthcare is even more vital. Telemedicine can be the answer to this.
The telemedicine definition states that telemedicine is the use of technology to deliver medical services remotely. While telemedicine cannot address every type of ailment, it can provide a useful means to access health services at a lower cost both for the medical service provider and the patient. Through such remote doctor consultations, patents can find support and peace of mind. Doctors can monitor conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and mental health conditions.
According to a trends in telehealth white paper, almost three quarters of American patients would use a telemedicine service and a similar number say they are comfortable with communicating with their doctors using technology instead of seeing them in person, according to TrendWatch. Human interaction is rated less highly than access to healthcare for more than 76% of those surveyed and only just over 15%of patients would opt for an emergency room visit if they had the choice of a telehealth service.
The telemedicine definition quoted earlier points to the core benefits of telehealth services: flexibility and accessibility regardless of location. For monitoring and diagnosis, telemedicine offers significant benefits and cut down on over-subscription of general practitioner services and emergency room visits. Qualified, dedicated healthcare practitioners can offer solid, evidence-based advice, monitoring and diagnosis remotely. This can be especially good for those who are anxious or unable to go to the doctor and may increase the number of people seeking help or advice for stigmatized ailments.