Telemedicine has been around for a while. How does it compare to traditional healthcare options? Well, the answer depends on the type of care you need.
Odds are you may have never heard of telemedicine, but it’s actually been around for quite some time. Telemedicine is when someone receives healthcare advice, diagnosis, or treatment without being physically present.Telemedicine goes back to the 1950’s, and NASA was one of the first big adopters. Astronauts in space don’t usually have a doctor on-hand and must relay their conditions back to medical staff on earth.Telemedicine is practiced over the phone, through text messages, video chat, or just about any other telecommunications medium.
Is Telemedicine Effective?
It’s natural to have some hesitation about seeing a doctor without actually seeing a doctor. Doctors poked and prodded us our entire lives in the exam room and we’ve come to associate that with our perception of proper healthcare.
It’s no surprise then, that many folks simply aren’t aware of the effectiveness of telemedicine. We did some research and it turns out, it really depends on what specifically you need. Unfortunately, not all healthcare needs can be met remotely.
Psychiatric Help & Counseling
By far, counseling and psychiatric care are some of the most effective types of healthcare to practice remotely. For those who need counseling services, there are plenty of options that don’t require you to sit on a couch in an office. Many online therapy providers even have smartphone apps their patients can use to interact with their counselors.Since these types of services typically rely on a patient communicating how they feel, they’re a prime candidate for being practiced over video chat, telephone, or even text messages.For psychiatry services, studies have actually shown little or no difference in the effectiveness of remote treatment compared to traditional in-office methods.
Medical Diagnosis for Illnesses
While doctors typically can’t do blood tests or physical exams remotely, much of what a doctor relies on for a diagnosis is based on what the patient tells them. In fact, one of the big complaints from doctors is that patients say, “I feel fine” instead of really laying out their symptoms. At the least, a telemedicine doctor can provide a preliminary diagnosis and determine if an in-office visit is required. It turns out that about 80% of diagnoses can be made just by talking and making sure the doctor listens