Medical telemedicine has many advantages. Doctors are available at a moment’s notice, patients are better prepared to receive the care they need, and other benefits include faster delivery of medicine. But it also presents some potential threats to patient safety. Learn more on telemedicine solutions.
One example of the benefits of telemedicine is that it can relieve some telehealth services of the burden of scheduling appointments. As patients are made to wait for a doctor or specialist on a regular basis, there is no need to pay a fee to keep the appointment. This frees up time for the physician. This also means that there is no pressure to find more patients or time to do some extra testing.
The communication between doctors and patients has a strong sense of urgency to it. Because the majority of patients do not have the option of scheduling an appointment, it has become common for telemedicine providers to use technology to generate that urgency. Some patients will need urgent care because they fall ill suddenly, and other emergencies may be better left to the doctors in the field.
Telemedicine solutions are based on the idea that patients are ready to receive care when they are ready. This ability to provide specific care to specific needs has obvious benefits, but it also means that patients will face unique challenges when they are presented with telemedicine options.
First, patients may feel uncomfortable talking about health issues with a stranger. A thorough discussion about a health concern can seem intimidating. Knowing that you are being treated by someone who has a medical background and is a specialist makes it more understandable.
Next, as patients are required to make appointments at specific times for general or specialty care, they may be reluctant to schedule an appointment at the last minute when faced with a health issue. Having another option may give them the confidence to check into a clinic or hospital on their own.
Since telemedicine solutions are based on the availability of trained and experienced professionals, the same problems that plague the medical community as a whole also plague the providers. For instance, since more patients are turning to telemedicine for primary care, doctors must hire additional staff to handle the increased workload.
Providers face additional concerns from telemedicine solutions because they are in a position of power. Patient data such as insurance information and diagnostic data are at the disposal of the provider, making it difficult for patients to voice concerns or make medical decisions without their permission.
Patients may choose to pursue alternative medical treatments, but telemedicine solutions are not set up to handle these kinds of situations. While patients do have the choice to speak with a trained professional about alternative options, patients are more likely to take their own chances with over-the-counter medicine.
Since the telemedicine solutions have been designed to provide care in a timely manner, they have created several new issues. As the quality of care improves, patient safety will also improve. Of course, telemedicine providers will do everything possible to ensure the quality of care their patients receive.
Telemedicine solutions that offer excellent safety are those that use minimal contact between providers and patients. These solutions may only use the doctor’s office or lab for emergency cases and offer a choice of short and long term care options. They may be focused on mobile alternatives and use advanced systems to track medication management.
To best protect patients, physicians should engage in a dialog with telemedicine solutions about ensuring the safety of the telemedicine services they provide. If telemedicine solutions have concerns about their services, it is important to address them openly. One of the best ways to do this is by having open and honest dialogues about safety issues between the two parties.