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Advantages of Telemedicine | disadvantages of Telemedicine

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Telemedicine and its basics. It mentions benefits or advantages of Telemedicine and drawbacks or disadvantages of Telemedicine.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine refers to tools and methods followed for delivery of healthcare services by using information and communication technologies to exchange information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. The practice does not require usual physical one-on-one interactions between patient and doctor. This is very useful when handling infectious diseases such as COVID-19, Flu etc.

Image courtesy : Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

The figure depicts typical telemedicine concept. Now-a-days it has become more popular and user friendly with the help of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) algorithms.

Telemedicine can help connect patient to physician (i.e. doctor), physician to patient, physician to physician spread across different physical locations.

Telemedicine apps can help patients to store their health data such as prescriptions, scanning results or blood or urine reports etc. Lab results are directly communicated electronically and symptomatic treatment is being initiated immediately.

Benefits or advantages of Telemedicine

Following are the benefits or advantages of Telemedicine:
➨The telemedicine assures same standards, same quality and same safety like patients were being seen in person by physicians.
➨It will prevent emergency rooms at hospitals from being overcrowded.
➨It will limit exposure among healthcare workers to infected individuals or positive COVID-19 patients.
➨It will cut down use of masks, gowns and gloves for workers by keeping patients at home.
➨It will save travel time, energy and costs for patients requiring regular check ups and minor consultations.
➨Patients who have difficulty with walking, speaking or breathing can make use of this technology and can avoid physical visit to the clinic.
➨It is best tool for countries or regions having very few medical professionals and higher number of patients.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Telemedicine

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Telemedicine:
➨The quality of voice/video depends on speed of the internet used by patients and doctors.
➨It requires additional training to be given to medical experts to effectively use the system.
➨Physicians are changed often which results into reduced care continuity. This is due to unavailability of full historical backgrounds of patients with doctors.
➨There are licensing issues involved in training/using telemedicine.
➨The technology is at evolving stage which will take some time before it is being adopted by more number of patients across the globe.

Conclusion: Recently telemedicine has become very popular in US and China to tackle outbreak of COVID-19 which is a contagious disease spread by corona virus. Also refer Contact Tracing Technology >> and data surveillance system >> used by health authorities to save hundreds of lives. People should also follow social distancing >> guidelines to stop spread of Corona virus.

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