Technology continues to change the practice of medicine, as doctors continuously look for better ways to treat people. Telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth, allows healthcare professionals to use electronic communications to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients remotely and gives patients quick, efficient and convenient access to medical expertise. While it has been around for over 40 years, telemedicine is a rapidly growing field.
Physicians at Geary Community Hospital use telemedicine to consult with specialists at other facilities for the best treatment options and/or the need to transfer patients for a higher level of care. Diagnostic images, test results and your medical history can be shared with the consulting physician for diagnosis and/or development of a treatment plan.
Telemedicine offers four fundamental benefits:
- Cost Efficiencies – Telemedicine has been shown to reduce the cost of healthcare and increase efficiency through better management of chronic diseases, shared health professional staffing, reduced travel times, and fewer or shorter hospital stays.
- Improved Access – Given the provider shortages in both rural and urban areas, telemedicine has a unique capacity to increase service to millions of new patients.
- Improved Quality – Studies have consistently shown that the quality of healthcare services delivered via telemedicine are as good those given in traditional in-person consultations.
- Patient Demand – Consumers want telemedicine. Using telemedicine technologies reduces travel time and related stresses for the patient. Such services provide access to providers that might not be available otherwise, as well as medical services without the need to travel long distances.