July 13, 2015 4:09 pm

The Evolution of Healthcare: Telemedicine and Videoconferencing

The Evolution of Healthcare: Telemedicine and Videoconferencing 

Technology has made healthcare easily available and accessible to everyone. Over the past few years, telemedicine and videoconferencing in medical practices has evolved. This evolution significantly improves patient health and continuity of care, while reducing healthcare costs.

Telemedicine and Videoconferencing: A New Approach for Delivering Improved Healthcare

In the late 1960s, medical services witnessed the adoption of a revolutionary approach by the physicians of the Massachusetts General Hospital. They ran a microwave line under Boston Harbor which connected the Logan International Airport to the Hospital. In addition to helping critical patients save precious time by not having to navigate through the heavy Boston traffic, it also paved the way for the delivery of vital patient care through telemedicine. Through this initiative, the airport clinic examined patients and prescribed medications faster. It established the essence of telemedicine—providing fast, effective, and appropriate medical care, no matter the patient’s location.

Today, telemedicine and videoconferencing provide ample opportunities for physicians to consult, monitor, and follow-up with remote patients. This ensures the delivery of proper treatment and care.

Harnessing the Benefits of Videoconferencing for Healthcare

While videoconferencing does not replace face-to-face interactions, it does boost doctor/patient relationships.

Immediate attention for critical diseases. Patients can be diagnosed and treated for critical ailments like stroke, which is considered the third largest cause of death in the United States. Hospitals equipped with telemedicine equipment, like Telestroke, help to alert specialists for quick diagnosis and on-time administration of the appropriate drugs. Telestroke is a unique combination of videoconferencing and telemedicine technologies. It helps physicians evaluate the situation remotely, examine the condition, and recommend medication as quickly as if they were in the same room. High-speed ISDN telephone lines and IP based technologies are used to transmit the audio and video data. Data compression technologies transmit the images. Hospitals within a Telestroke network reduce costs by avoiding emergency hospital transfers. Without a doubt, Telestroke is a faster way to save lives.

Tele-ICU: The New Health Checker. Telemedicine in Intensive Care Units has helped nurses and caregivers provide better quality care to patients. Intensive Care Units are a distraction-prone area due to the frequent alarms and other interruptions. Nurses and caregivers sometimes commit errors, some of which may be fatal. The tele-ICU is a support system that provides additional surveillance. It assists the bedside team to deliver timely interventions. It uses the telemedicine technology to provide effective monitoring and delivery of appropriate treatments. These technologies include high-resolution zoom cameras, microphones, and speakers installed in a patient’s room

Self-Management of Chronic Diseases. In addition to acute and critical diseases, telemedicine and videoconferencing make way for patients to manage chronic diseases by themselves. By updating their physicians on their daily health status, patients can avoid actual physical visits. They send images of their self-investigation reports. This helps physicians understand their condition and recommend appropriate medications. This allows patients to effectively control their health while improving their quality of life.

Telemedicine and videoconferencing are helping the healthcare community to provide cost-effective, advanced healthcare to patients. Remote patients experience compassionate and relationship-driven care no matter the distance from their physicians. This is not the end of the improvements as the evolution of telemedicine and videoconferencing is ongoing, and the future of healthcare looks to be very exciting indeed.

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