How telemedicine can be used
You might know what telemedicine is, but how are telemedicine systems actually delivered? What kinds of technology allows digital connections between a provider at a large hospital and a patient in a remote, rural home?
With the expansion of the internet, much of how telemedicine is delivered has changed. Now, with a simple internet connection, many patients in remote areas can participate in at least some types of telemedicine. Here are a few examples of the kinds of connections used for telemedicine.
Networked connections (like high-speed internet lines) are typically used to link remote health clinics to larger health facilities like metropolitan hospitals. According to the ATA, there are about 200 networked telemedicine programs in the U.S., granting telemedicine access to more than 3000 rural sites.
Point-to-point connections link small remote health centers to one, large, central health facility via high-speed internet. This type of telemedicine connection lets smaller or understaffed clinics outsource medical care to specialists at other locations within the same health system. Point-to-point connections are especially common for telepsychiatry, teleradiology, and urgent care services.
Monitoring Center Links
Monitoring center links are used for one type of telemedicine – remote patient monitoring. This type of telemedicine link creates a digital connection between a patient’s house and a remote monitoring facility so that a patient’s medical data can be measured at home and transmitted electronically to a distant medical monitoring facility. These links usually take the form of internet, SMS, or telephone connections. They’re most commonly used for monitoring of pulmonary, cardiac, or fetal medical data.
What services can be provided by telemedicine
Telemedicine can be used for a wide variety of health services. Here’s a short list of common conditions a primary care doctor may treat via telemedicine:
- Arthritic Pain
- Colds and Flu
- Insect Bites
- Respiratory Infections
- Skin Inflammations
- Sore Throats
- Sprains & Strains
- Bladder Infections
- Sports Injuries
Telemedicine services can range widely by specialty. A surgeon might use telemedicine to do post-operation check-ins with patients, to make sure their wound is not infected. A gynecologist might use a live telemedicine solution to provide birth control counseling. An endocrinologist may do live video chats with patients to discuss recent lab results and answer questions.