Telemedicine is a rapidly growing field that has become more popular over the past several years. However, there are still many people who haven’t heard of telemedicine or are reluctant to take advantage of it. Telemedicine, also known as telehealth or telecare, is changing how people look at healthcare. Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications. Telemedicine is used to improve a patient’s clinical health status and is often used in non-emergency health situations such as when a person has a cold, flu, allergies, asthma and more. Telemedicine uses a variety of applications including two-way video, email, smart phones and other forms of technology.
There are many myths surrounding telemedicine. These myths deter people from taking advantage of all that telemedicine has to offer. Here are five of the most popular telemedicine myths and the truth surrounding them:
Telemedicine is a new field
Although telemedicine is growing in popularity, it’s not a new field. There are parts of telemedicine that are emerging, but it has actually been around, in various forms, since the 1960s. Radiologists have used teleradiology to check an MRI, specialists have taken care of patients who are in the ICU from a remote location and doctors have checked pacemakers over the phone. Telemedicine is certainly growing in popularity and is now used by a wider range of people to solve many different health problems, but telemedicine itself is not a new form of health care.
Telemedicine is only for people who live in remote, rural areas
Telemedicine was developed as a way to bring healthcare to remote, rural areas, but as the Internet grew, telemedicine grew as well. Today, telemedicine allows suburban and inner city hospitals to provide intensive care services and other specialty care services such as remote monitoring, teleradiology and telemedicine for emergency response. Additionally, it has allowed for companies such as Teladoc to offer telehealth services where people can call a U.S. board-certified doctor and have their medical issue resolved over the phone. These services are being deployed in both rural and metropolitan areas.
Telehealth providers are expensive
The average cost of an emergency room visit is around $1,200, even with insurance. Yet, most visits to the emergency room could be solved at a primary care physician’s office or urgent care. The average cost of urgent care visits is around $155, which is significantly less expensive than a visit to the emergency room. Telehealth providers are even less expensive than both the emergency room and urgent care and provide an alternative resource for when you can’t get an appointment with your primary care physician.
Telemedicine ruins the doctor/patient relationship
Telemedicine isn’t meant to be a replacement for face-to-face visits at a doctor’s office. Instead, it’s meant to serve as a supplement to routine doctor’s visits. Telemedicine is ideal for times when you can’t get an appointment with your primary care physician and your problem isn’t severe enough for a trip to the emergency room. Telemedicine is a viable option in certain non-emergency situations where proper care can be received without having to visit a doctor’s office.
Telemedicine is a threat to patient privacy
With the growing popularity of the cloud and other technologies, people are worried that their privacy is at risk. When it comes to medical information, people are even more nervous that their privacy will be compromised. Telemedicine has evolved over the years and provides a safe and secure way to send medical information without compromising privacy.