The virtual hospital concept of allowing people to stay home for medical treatment and consultation is an idea whose time has come. Publications such as mHealth Intelligence point to increased use of telemedicine techniques in America, a combination of growing popularity, as well as better technology that facilitates the more efficient execution of virtual hospital techniques.
But what exactly is this equipment that makes services like the Medically Home Program more viable now than, say 40 years ago? And how advanced is that technology? The answers to these questions lie as much in miniaturization as they do on the Internet.
Medical Mobile Devices
The Internet now makes it possible for huge amounts of digital data to be instantly transmitted from one location to another. As a result, the US Food & Drug Administration now has oversight over technology known as mobile medical applications. This is either software, hardware, or a combination of both that is capable of providing data or services at the level required by medical professionals for treatment and/or evaluation.
A medical mobile device often looks like a briefcase or even a very large medical kit. Inside is the equipment necessary for a particular patient’s needs. A patient recovering from a heart condition, for example, may have a small ECG device to monitor and transmit heart activity constantly.
Some patients may require a bit more, and receive a telemedicine kit. Kits are larger, durable, and bulkier, and often contain a screen as well as a keyboard, almost a throwback to the laptops of the late 90s and early 21st century, but now with specific medical purposes in mind, in addition to including mobile medical devices. These kits may, if required, be outfitted with crucial medical examination equipment for anything from ultrasounds to dermascopes or otoscopes. It’s like a doctor bringing a clinic to a person’s home.
How a patient looks can often be a very good indicator of overall health, so a good, high definition digital camera is often important, and not just for the video chat with a doctor. The use of a camera in a virtual hospital setting allows a medical expert get a good luck at crucial physical features, such as complexion, redness of the eyes, and other factors that aren’t always apparent from gathered medical data. Sometimes getting a good look is still the best way to do it.
These and other critical advances in software and information transmission have all helped to make accurate telemedicine treatment more viable than ever before.