Telemedicine seems to be a generic term to delivery of healthcare services that come under the umbrella of telehealth. It encompasses the use of telecommunication and information technology to render better care and information. Telemedicine has become one of the most popular means to procure the immediate and convenient services of health professionals. It brings together reliable and hassle-free medical services to the far-flung areas and remote location, where the geographical situation and availability of basic amenities become obstructions for the advance of health-related assistance.
To provide managed care and sustainable medical services, telehealth providers are moving forward with the use of a telemedicine app to connect rural communities with care. The benefits of telemedicine services in rural locations include remote delivery and the elimination of travel to urban hospitals. It has drastically managed to change the landscape of healthcare in rural settings.
Telemedicine appeals to a lot of users due to its extended and enhanced services, round the clock availability of physicians, availability of patient data and cost-effective services. It has led to a reduced number of hospital visits, lowering medical cost and enhances the quality of care.
The rural villages and far-fetched areas do not have access to medical services and in emergencies, the patients often have to travel long distances for specialist consultations. It takes time to queues for scheduling appointments and costs for travel and medical aid. The health care providers are reluctant to establish healthcare premises due to poor infrastructure and connectivity problems. Here, telemedicine advance a giant leap for providers as well as patients. In the sense of extending medical care and enhancing the quality of care at a reduced cost. The providers set up mobile care units at the villages and also launching telemedicine apps that can be accessed on mobile devices to connect with the physicians.
Services availed with the telemedicine software
- Live interaction with a physician: The telemedicine application is used for real-time interaction with the patient for online consultation. The patients can make a video call, send texts to interact via email for transmission of information and get a diagnosis for treatment. The apps can be a powerful means to render medical care at the quickest.
- Remote monitoring: The patients who are living in far-flung locations find it difficult to get specialist services. The clinicians use telemedicine services to monitor the patients remotely, using a mobile device. The Patient can record the test results and send to doctors, who can check up on them and connects in case of any fluctuation or case of any concern,
- Online video conferencing: The patient can connect with the doctor on a video call for real-time interaction. Video consultation re effective as the doctor can screen the patient and advice by seeing the vitals. It is very helpful in dermatological problems.
- Availability of patient data: The telemedicine app stores patient’s information during the ongoing sessions with the clinicians. All the medical records and information along with the patient’s history can be stored and is available to transfer or share among the users. The patients and clinicians can have its access round the clock. The healthcare providers can also share the information with other healthcare providers in case they need consultation.
- Store and forward services: Telehealth software enables the patent to record the test results and information and share it with the medical professionals. It eliminates the need for both parties to be present at the time of exchange of information. The doctors can review the test results and provide consultation. It is beneficial for diabetes, heart-related conditions.
Challenges for telehealth in for delivering services in rural communities
Even though telemedicine practices and telehealth is becoming progressive in rural locations, it faces multiple challenges that act as a barrier to its successful implementation. Describe below are some common bottlenecks for telehealth integration.
- Reimbursements: The most prominent and common drawback is the reimbursement for medical services. According to a study, the legal parity for telehealth still struggles on the grounds of location-based service restrictions. Restrictions imposed on the providers and limit services that come under the umbrella of telehealth. The state laws guide the telehealth services and reimbursement and only a few health insurance companies reimburse for the services. It limits the access of telehealth to the rural population.
Broadband: Internet is an essential requirement for Telehealth and health information exchanges, but at present, not all the rural villages have access to internet or broadband services. The present internet does not match up with the speed that is required to set up the connection got telehealth services. It puts a restriction to adopt telemedicine practices for and substantial healthcare.