what is telemedicine? Is it different from telehealth?
Telemedicine enables virtual consultations and make remote care a provision that everyone can rely on.
Telemedicine will continue to grow, but there will be need for intervention on a case-to-case basis
Innovations in healthcare have begun to ramp up over the last couple of years, and the world is now better for it. Given the impact of the pandemic on this sector, any new infrastructure that simplifies accessibility and treatment is welcomed. This may be one of the reasons why telemedicine services have become increasingly popular today. In fact, it is now the preferred route for many as it minimises the chance of exposure to the virus.
But, what is telemedicine? Is it different from telehealth? What are its advantages, if any? For the answers to all these important questions and to gain clarity on its value in today’s scenario, take a look these points.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), telemedicine is, “the delivery of healthcare services, where distance is a critical factor, by all healthcare professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of healthcare providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”
All this means is that electronic communication will now play a major role in the exchange of medical information toward bettering an individual’s health. In today’s world, this is a reality because it is easier to access faster internet with devices that are facilitate wireless connectivity. These enable virtual consultations and make remote care a provision that everyone can rely on.
In principle, telemedicine is the ideal solution for any and all remote care needs. As such, it is immensely beneficial to those in need in comparison to traditional healthcare provisions. However, despite its accessibility and flexibility, it is unwise to think that telemedicine is a complete solution to the shortcomings of the healthcare sector.
Though telemedicine has its limitations, it also bridges several gaps that hinder the existing healthcare infrastructure. To shed some light on this, here are a few advantages of telemedicine.
There 3 main types of telemedicine services, which are as follows.
The debate over the difference between telemedicine and telehealth mainly stems from the difference in their definitions. As mentioned earlier, telemedicine is simply the vehicle through which healthcare is made accessible to the public. On the other hand, telehealth covers non-clinical events, which include:
Due to the pandemic, India, like many other countries, has developed a regulatory framework for the telemedicine. It is among the top 10 countries for its telemedicine provisions in the world. The GOI put forth guidelines on 25th March, 2020, enabling Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP) to administer treatment and healthcare using telemedicine. As such, the telemedicine market in the country has experienced considerable growth and is now set to cross $5.5Bn by 2025.
COVID-19 has urged many to seek out telemedicine as it offers care in a safer way. Telemedicine will continue to grow, but there will be need for intervention on a case-to-case basis. The importance and relevance of a physical check-up can’t and shouldn’t be denied. However, for the cases that can reliably get the needed care via telemedicine, it is an ideal provision.
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