What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine, sometimes called telehealth, connects people with healthcare professionals by phone or over the Internet. Using a telemedicine service, you can get a diagnosis, advice on managing the issue, and if applicable, prescriptions for certain types of non-narcotic drugs. You may also be able to get short-term refills on existing prescriptions.
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Answers to Your Questions about Telemedicine
Is telemedicine new?
Telemedicine has been in use for over four decades. It started as a way to deliver quality care to people living in rural areas with limited access to medical care. Over the past 20 years, the use of telemedicine has spread rapidly and is now used by hospitals, home health agencies, private physicians and other medical professionals to provide easy access to medical advice, monitoring and care.
The American Telemedicine association estimates that there are currently about 200 telemedicine networks in the US, with over half of all U.S. hospitals now using telemedicine. Around the world, millions of patients use telemedicine to manage their health.
Several studies have been conducted to gauge patient satisfaction with telemedicine services. Overall, 98% of patients were satisfied with the medical services they received via telemedicine consultations and 84% of patients preferred to use telemedicine services for their non-urgent healthcare needs.
Can doctors really properly diagnose and treat illness over the phone?
Telemedicine eliminates much of the cost, anxiety, and time-wasting annoyances associated with getting professional medical care for common conditions like allergies, rashes, colds and flu, sinus infections, and other easily diagnosed and treated illnesses. Telemedicine diagnosis often utilizes video consultations that can provide the same information as an in-person visit (you may also upload photos of symptoms such as rashes, etc.). Some health issues are, or course, better treated face to face.