Reaching Out to Patients: Telemedicine

‘When the patient is ready, the doctor shows up’

Every human being goes through ups and downs when it comes to their health, whether it’s physical, mental or emotional.

Finding the right answers to such concerns and reaping the benefits of educated, professional medical advice is an essential requirement for a healthy well-being.

Advances in technology; telecommunications in particular, have opened new, innovative doors to abundance in almost every aspect of today’s life, and medicine is not an exception.

When fine medical knowledge, facilities and skills are combined with sophisticated information technology and state-of-the-art telecommunication systems, you get what is referred to as Telemedicne.

The following scenario gives an idea:

A car accident takes place on a back country road. The ambulance at the scene has a portable x-ray machine, which takes an image of the injured’s fractured knee and transmits it over a satellite up-link to a medical facility, that has a specialized knee surgeon. Almost instantly, the surgeon reviews the images on a workstation linked to the telemedicine network, or even on a tablet connected to an attached image database over a WiFi connection. Upon assessment, the surgeon communicates proper instructions to the paramedics at the scene over a video conferencing channel, guiding them, step by step, on how to handle the delicate condition till the patient reaches the nearest hospital.

So what is telemedicine?

In very simple, non-medical terms, it is a service that allows a patient to communicate with a healthcare provider, virtually, over a specialized system of telecommunication and IT facilities.

In the above example, the injured patient communicated, indirectly through the paramedics, with a knee surgeon, hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away, and received proper care on the spot. That involved utilizing telecommunications links, a secure Internet tunnel, software applications on both ends, and a clear/effective Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), which organizes and manages the whole communication process, as well as the exchange of medical data and final consultation/advice.

There are other details to the service, which can be explained in later posts of this series. But for now, what we need to take from this presentation is the fact that telemedicine is helping patients and healthcare providers overcome the limitations that used to hinder the access and the delivery of top-class medical advice to virtually any spot around the globe, as well as space missions.

The 2nd point is that telemedicine can help almost any medical practice, including dentistry, neurology, internal medicine, surgery of any sort, and a lot more.

Stay tuned for more discussions on how telemedicine works, and on some of its vertical applications, including Tele-Neurology (think here of helping patients residing in rural areas avoid fatal brain stroke incidents).

The Wealth Maker




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