What Is Telemedicine?

We all know what a telephone and a television are but what is telemedicine? How is this new system of technology making it possible for people to get hospital treatments at home, rather than being admitted to a hospital or other medical facility? How does this system work?

The Virtual Hospital

Telemedicine is an offshoot of remote technologies, like data collection and transmission, or even ordinary communication technologies like phone calls or video chats, but now put in the service of medical treatment. As the name “telemedicine” implies, this is long distance communication for medical treatment. Telemedicine takes certain aspects of a hospital and “virtually” puts them into a home. It’s one reason why the Medically Home Program is referred to as a virtual hospital.

Remote Sensors & Analysis

One of the biggest reasons that telemedicine is more viable than it was before is the Internet. The Internet is all about the instantaneous transmission of digital information from one place to another, and that can take the form of music, videos, email, and, of course, actual medical data.

In the past, a physical, “brick and mortar” hospital could only collect necessary information about a patient, such as temperature, heart rate and blood pressure through physical exams, or hardware that was wired directly to the patient. Today’s medical devices are small enough and powerful enough to collect this information, sometimes even wirelessly, and send the data to the relevant destination, so that medical experts have constant, real-time updates of patient data. This allows them access to the same information in the same timely manner as if the patient were in the hospital itself.

Interaction When Needed

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the virtual hospital is on the rise, but this is not just because telemedicine makes data gathering easier. Telemedicine also makes talking to a medical professional easier than ever before. In the past, if a patient had a question, or just needed a routine check-up, there was scheduling the appointment, transporting to a clinic or hospital, and waiting for consultation. Now with options like the Medically Home Program, routine questions and check-ups can be handled by phone, video chat or other means of communication, making things easier for everyone.

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