Telemedicine/Telehealth in Bristol, TN
What is Telemedicine/Telehealth?
Imagine if you could receive healthcare services without the hassle of having to travel to a doctor's office. This convenient way of receiving healthcare is already possible via telemedicine, also referred to as telehealth. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) defines telemedicine as the use of medical information that is exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient's health. This mode of healthcare delivery encompasses a growing variety of applications, and services can be delivered to patients using secure and HIPAA-compliant two-way video, email, smartphones and other wireless tools.
There are many methods of telemedicine delivery, but in a typical telemedicine or telehealth consultation, the patient sees the doctor on a two-way video screen, and the doctor asks the same type of diagnostic questions as he or she would in a face-to-face appointment. He or she can assess the patient's condition via the video monitor and can prescribe any medicines or treatments via e-prescribing, or eRx, software. Using this software, the doctor can electronically send a prescription request to the patient's pharmacy of choice to treat the condition. Because the entire interaction is conducted electronically, it saves the patient the time and stress of attending an in-office appointment.
Although it seems like a relatively new service, telemedicine began more than 40 years ago with hospitals providing care to patients in remote areas. Today, the use of telemedicine is spreading rapidly and is becoming integrated into hospitals, specialty departments, home health agencies, and private physician offices, as well as patients' homes and workplaces.
Patient consultations via video conferencing, transmission of still images, patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education, consumer-focused wireless applications and nursing call centers—among other applications—are all considered part of telemedicine.
Watch this video to see how telemedicine works.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine has been growing rapidly according to the ATA because it offers four main benefits:
- Improved access: Not only does telemedicine improve patients' access to physicians, but it also allows physicians and healthcare facilities to expand their reach. Given the healthcare provider shortages in both rural and urban areas, telemedicine allows providers to increase service to millions of new patients.
- Cost efficiencies: Reducing or containing the cost of healthcare is one of the most important reasons for funding and adopting telemedicine. This healthcare delivery method 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 quality: Studies have shown that the quality of healthcare services delivered via telemedicine are as good those given in traditional in-person consultations. In some specialties, particularly in mental health and intensive care unit (ICU) care, telemedicine delivers better health outcomes and higher patient satisfaction, according to the ATA.
- Patient demand: The greatest benefit of telemedicine is to the patient, his or her family, and the community. Using telemedicine technologies reduces travel time and the related stresses of an office visit for the patient. During the past 15 years, a multitude of studies have documented patient satisfaction and support for telemedicine services. Patients gain access to health care providers who might not be available otherwise—without the need to travel long distances.
Other benefits of telemedicine include eliminating the possible transmission of infectious diseases or parasites between patients and medical staff, especially where methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other highly contagious diseases are a concern. Also, some patients who feel uncomfortable in a doctor's office may feel more comfortable with remote appointments they can attend within the comfort of their homes.
To see telemedicine in action, watch this video.
Request more information about telemedicine today. Call (423) 301-6964 or contact Tri-Cities Functional Medicine online.
Tri-Cities Functional Medicine
Address2726 W State St
Bristol, TN 37620
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tue: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wed: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thu: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm