Telemedicine has been around since the 1950s, and it has steadily evolved throughout the years. You can receive it through a variety of methods, including phone calls and video conferencing. During the pandemic, many people turned to telemedicine in order to receive medical assistance. However, some people prefer the previous way of receiving care, and some physicians find the virtual distance a hinder to their work.
Telemedicine does provide some benefits, but there are also some pitfalls as well. As technology evolves, will virtual appointments become the preferred way of medical care? Is telemedicine here to stay, even after the pandemic?
Benefits of Telemedicine
People turn to telehealth because of the convenience. With it, you don’t need to wait in a doctor’s office. You can wait in a virtual waiting room and spend the time doing something more productive. If you’re driving or on vacation, you can still meet with a physician through a telehealth appointment. Those who are homebound or live in remote areas find this method much more preferrable compared to a traditional doctor’s visit.
Using telemedicine also allows you to access professionals outside of your local area. If you need a specialist, you can meet with them through a virtual appointment instead of having to travel to them. This saves time, money, and effort. With telehealth appointments, you can reach physicians and specialists in different countries.
Disadvantages of Telemedicine
However, there are some disadvantages of using telemedicine. For one, it doesn’t allow for laboratory tests or actual human interaction. This can lead to errors in diagnoses or increase the risk of a wrong diagnosis. Patients also can’t receive wellness checks or physical exams because of the equipment needed for things like weight and blood pressure.
Using telemedicine means you will be primarily relying on technology to communicate with healthcare professionals. Your appointment might be delayed because of technical difficulties, weak Wi-Fi, or device limitations. Different facilities use different programs, so you’ll need to make sure that you have the correct one downloaded. Additionally, all your data will be stored online for you to access. This runs of the risk hackers being able to access your information.
Telemedicine is Here to Stay
Even with all the limitations and disadvantages of telemedicine, many professionals think that it will continue to increase in popularity after the pandemic ends. Virtual appointments can help decrease overhead costs for facilities, and many patients will find telemedicine appointments better for their schedule. However, there are times when face-to-face interactions will work best. In the future, telemedicine and traditional appointments will find a way to coincide and create better patient care for everyone.