Telemedicine has been used for more than four decades to improve patient and physician access to healthcare services, according to the American Telemedicine Association. It also has the potential to reduce the cost and improve the quality of healthcare – while meeting a growing consumer demand for telemedical services. With such a strong set of benefits, it’s no surprise telemedicine represents a powerful business opportunity for value-added resellers in the video conferencing space.
Simply put, telemedicine is the exchange of medical information through electronic communications. With telemedicine, doctors, clinics and patients might use two-way video, email, smartphones or wireless communication to share information.
Telemedicine Video Conferencing
Video conferencing has fast become one of the most popular tools in telemedicine. The face-to-face capabilities of video conferencing is an ideal fit for the healthcare industry, where patients want convenience and better access but also crave connection and understanding. A growing number of physicians and patients are making use of conferencing technology for live interactive video, sharing video clips for later review, forwarding diagnostic images and more.
When working with healthcare customers, it’s important to help them see the many different possibilities of video conferencing telemedicine. Consider the following ways the technology can be used:
1. Improving access for remote patients.
The No. 1 benefit of video conferencing in medicine is arguably improved access. According to the American Telemedicine Association, telemedicine has the ability to increase healthcare service to millions of new patients, from those in remote rural areas to those in crowded urban environments. Video conferencing can even be useful in disaster areas, reaching those affected by earthquakes, tsunamis and more. These patients can quickly and easily connect with doctors from around the world by taking advantage of technology that can be made available at local hospitals, clinics or relief stations.
2. Connecting physicians from around the world.
Video conferencing also has the ability to connect physicians with colleagues, health facilities and experts from around the world. This facilitates an unprecedented level of collaboration and knowledge-sharing that can only benefit the global health community.
3. Providing medical education.
Health professionals can use video conferencing to broaden their educational reach as well. Students, fellow physicians and patient advocacy groups can connect via video for seminars, meetings and even ongoing classes to share information that would otherwise be out of reach for some.
4. Enabling more effective critical care.
Some people struggle to travel any distance to see their doctor. Patients who are very ill, handicapped, elderly or in the late stages of pregnancy could benefit greatly from video access to health professionals. There is also great potential in pediatrics, as many children’s ailments are common and straightforward enough to be diagnosed remotely – without forcing parents to drag their sick kids to the doctor.
5. Making mental healthcare more accessible.
Certain fields of healthcare are even more well-suited to video conferencing than others. With a focus on doctor-patient interaction, mental health services are ideal for telemedicine through video conferencing. Doctors can connect with patients using video, which helps to broaden their reach and save patients time and money.
6. Specialist referral services.
Video conferencing can also expedite the specialist referral process. Using video, a primary care or allied health professional can consult with a patient or specialist, which helps them to arrive at a diagnosis and recommend a referral more quickly and recommend a referral more quickly.
What are some of the other potential areas for video conferencing in the telemedicine field? What has been your experience with video conferencing in hospitals and other healthcare facilities?