Top Medical Specialties Seeing the Advantages of Telemedicine in Healthcare
It’s no secret that technology is advancing more rapidly than ever, and the advantages of telemedicine are spreading far and wide. Many primary care physicians are already using telemedicine to expand the options available to their patients for obtaining convenient care, and also to improve their own personal work-life balance.
However, the practical applications of telemedicine aren’t confined to primary care providers alone. In fact, the increasingly refined telemedicine approach is growing in popularity throughout a variety of specialties, and some of these specialties are particularly well-suited to the virtual/video-based applications of telemedicine.
Let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of telemedicine for doctors, nurses, and other physicians throughout some of the most telemedicine-friendly medical specialties.
Diagnosing dermatological conditions is greatly dependent on visuals, so it makes sense that people visiting dermatologists for skin conditions like psoriasis had the same – or even better – clinical outcomes as patients visiting actual doctor’s offices. After all, high-def video and images have made it incredibly easy for physicians to diagnose and treat skin issues, all without a single patient ever stepping foot into their office. Patients can simply send a photo of a skin abnormality using their mobile device or computer, effectively eliminating the need for an initial in-person consultation.
Of course, if it’s determined that a biopsy is necessary, then an in-person, follow-up office visit will still be required. But when it comes to getting to the bottom of a suspicious rash or mole quickly and conveniently, teledermatology makes for an ideal solution.
Nephrologists can use telemedicine in a number of ways to develop convenient care-from-home plans for patients. For example, telemedicine technologies can be used to monitor a patient’s blood pressure readings from home, a technique which has been shown to actually improve control over BP.
Meanwhile, Remote Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) care delivered through telenephronology improves renal clinic visit adherence while delivering comparable renal outcomes. In many rural communities, there are no nephrologists, requiring patients to commute more than 30 miles to see one. The application of this technology is a promising method to provide access to care to rural CKD patients and to minimize the disparity between urban and rural patients.
Telenephrology can also be used in a number of other ways to grant patients more independence while ensuring they receive the care necessary to manage their often life-long conditions.
With a constantly growing demand for talent in an increasingly understaffed field, technology is proving to be a great asset for neurologists around the country. Some of the practical applications of teleneurology include acute care, hospital-based telestroke services, and outpatient teleneurology.
Above all else, however, teleneurology allows physicians to further streamline their medical services, increasing their accessibility of care while reducing annoying wait times. So, for sufferers of chronic conditions like dementia, stroke, Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s, and any number of other neurological disorders or diseases, customized teleneurological solutions provide a much-welcome source of relief and respite.
Thanks to telemedicine, it’s much easier to manage and care for diabetes, thyroid disease, and the many other endocrinological conditions that require frequent monitoring and adjustments to hormones and medications. Physicians can use telemedicine technology to more conveniently track and store patient data and updates on patient progress, while patients can use the technology to eliminate the need for long-distance travel to and from their endocrinologist’s office for check-ups and appointments.
But don’t just take our word for it: there’s research to back it up! For example, a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study of rural Type I diabetes patients found that tele-care resulted in a decrease in mean hemoglobin A1c and glucose variability among the population, as well as no significant increase in hypoglycemic episodes. Then, in response to the survey question, “Would you recommend telehealth to other patients?,” the program scored a perfect 100% among those surveyed.
The existence of video visits makes managing congenital heart defects and cardiovascular disease a lot easier on both patients and providers. Specialists can now use remotely-transmitted electrocardiographic data to monitor and interpret health information from remote locations, then provide feedback and recommendations to patients.
By reducing the need for, or at least the frequency of, in-person consultations, telecardiology cuts down on appointment time and expenses, providing patients with fast, high-quality care any time, anywhere.
Patients suffering from sickle cell disease, cancer, and other hematological or oncological conditions need constant monitoring and check-ups with their healthcare providers. Because of this, telemedicine offers a welcome alternative to constant in-person appointments (and all the waiting rooms, travel costs, and other unpleasantries that go along with them).
A number of models exist to provide medical services via teleoncology such as videoconferencing for consultations and monitoring of patient symptoms, videoconferencing for consultations and supervision of oral chemotherapy, and videoconferencing for remote planning in radiation oncology. Many oncology centers adopt these models to complement their face-to-face outreach services.
Technology allows physicians to connect with their patients through photo sharing and live video, ensuring they continue receiving the highest caliber of care in as convenient a method as possible. And there are stats to prove its effectiveness; in fact, a 2017 study showed that patients who had advanced cancer and used an online tool to report their symptoms between visits to their doctor saw a 5-month increase in survival when compared to patients who did not use the online tool.
Video-based telepsychiatry allows providers to offer clinical services in a more cost-effective, timely manner. In the hospital ED setting, the average wait time for a patient to see a board-certified psychiatrist is between 8-12 hours. In comparison, telepsychiatry programs are able to accommodate a patient within 1-2 hours. It allows physicians to more easily conduct regular therapy sessions and adjust medications when necessary. Because of all these benefits, it’s no surprise that telepsychiatry is one of the fastest-growing telemedicine platforms.
In addition, telemedicine allows patients to receive “face-to-face” mental health treatment without ever having to leave their homes, which reduces the fear and/or risk of social stigmatization. Finally, telemedicine also gives patients in rural or remote areas access to the critical psychological care they might not have ever had before.
MedLink: Bringing the Practical Applications of Telemedicine to You
MedLink is a multi-specialty physician-staffing company that works with various telemedicine platform companies and healthcare organizations across the country.
If you’re a physician who is looking to experience the advantages of telemedicine for yourself and your patients, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!