What is Telemedicine? A few years ago, few people were familiar with the term “telemedicine”, however, it has risen to the forefront of the healthcare industry worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since March 202, patients have had their first encounters with telehealth platforms. While the nuts and bolts of Telemedicine were clear, many patients and providers still remain unaware of the numerous benefits it provides, especially to those who live in rural areas.
Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with telemedicine platforms for patients and healthcare practitioners in remote or rural areas:
Seeing a Doctor is Easy
Firstly, many people still don’t feel comfortable going to a doctor’s office or spending time in a crowded waiting room waiting to be seen for their appointment. Those wanting to meet with healthcare professionals can now schedule an appointment with just a click of the button. There is no need to leave the safety and comfort of home.
Apps Are HIPAA Compliant
Secondly, one of the best features of telemedicine apps is that they are 100% HIPAA compliant. It creates a safe and secure way to freely share information, pictures, or documents with your doctor and healthcare team.
Thirdly, for people living in rural areas traveling to a hospital for emergency medical care may be difficult or impossible. Telemedicine saves lives by connecting doctors and patients for critical treatment or medical guidance immediately with the assistance of a local primary care doctor or nurse practitioner at a smaller local clinic or hospital—even in the provider’s own home.
Never Leave Home
Many people live far from their nearest healthcare facilities and providers. Routine medical care may take longer and require complicated planning for simple appointments. With digital healthcare, anyone who has a telehealth app on a cell phone, tablet, or computer can receive treatment. That too, without leaving their home.
Prevent Disease Transmission
Yes, another benefit of using telemedicine is reducing your risk of acquiring or spreading contagious diseases, including COVID-19. Why risk your life, or the life of someone else, when with just the click of a button, an alternate method to meet with healthcare professionals exists?
Despite these benefits for patients and providers in remote and rural areas, there are also a few key limitations:
A Good Internet Connection is Essential
A good internet connection is paramount to a seamless telemedicine experience. In areas with spotty or limited internet access, the potential for a subpar experience is high.
Not Suitable for All Cases
Telemedicine is not suitable for all diseases or conditions. Severe conditions may necessitate a trip to a healthcare facility instead of a telemedicine option.
These are some of the pros and cons of telemedicine in rural and remote areas. As the industry continues to grow, more and more people will enjoy additional benefits in the future.