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Who Can Practice Telemedicine?

Updated: June 19, 2020

With more and more clinics adopting telemedicine services, more healthcare providers want to chime in. This compels medical professionals to ask the question: who can use telemedicine?

Cardiologists, dermatologists, and psychologists are leading the way in terms of advancing and promoting telemedicine, but that doesn’t mean the technology is only limited to these specializations.

Telemedicine isn’t so much about the specialization as it is about the function. It just so happens that cardiology, dermatology, and psychology are three fields that benefit most from transitioning into remote patient care.

In this article, we share the top eight medical fields that are now using telemedicine, as well as some tips on how to introduce this into your practice. Read on to learn more about the best practices regarding telemedicine marketing.

The Three Different Types of Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the practice of using technology to deliver medical services. Telemedicine isn’t just about redefining the physician-patient relationship; it is ultimately used to streamline processes involving diagnosis and image sharing over secure online networks.

Technically any medical service is capable of adapting telemedicine since it’s more about the function and less about the specialization. Listed below are the three different types of telemedicine services:

1. Real-Time Video Conferencing

Video conferencing is the most popular form of telemedicine services. With just an internet connection and access to a secure platform, patients in search of the best quality of care can now access doctors across state lines and receive medical advice and prescriptions remotely.

There are two different video conferencing models. The hub-and-spoke model requires patients to travel to a hub or a service that will connect them to their healthcare provider. A telemedicine company set up in a rural area can connect patients to a vast network of health care institutions, allowing them to choose a practice or clinic, regardless of location.

The other model involves using one’s personal connection at home to connect with the doctor. Hospitals and clinics with their own secure, HIPAA compliant telemedicine platform can directly connect to clients without using a service provider. This allows patients to participate in check-ups, follow-ups, and other non-emergency clinical services from the comfort of their own homes.

2. Store and Forward

The store and forward aspect of telemedicine involves storing information such as imaging scans, test results, and other data used to reach a diagnosis. These are then forwarded to another medical provider, often a specialist, for further diagnosis.

The store and forward model can also help patients acquire a second opinion; with telemedicine, patients are able to reach out to different telemedicine practices and ask them to reevaluate the diagnosis.

3. Remote Patient Monitoring

In situations where a consistent hospital visit is necessary, remote patient monitoring makes it easy to provide a consistent level of care and assistance, even without in-person doctor visits. Because patients don’t have to go out of their way to experience the best level of care, physicians with a telemedicine program often report lower readmission rates and improved cooperation on the patients.

To make remote patient monitoring work, video visits aren’t enough. Healthcare facilities will typically design biosensors so they can track glucose, blood, heart pressure, and other health factors in real-time. These devices transmit the information to the hospital’s database, which will keep doctors up to date with their patient’s health and possible problems.

Benefits Of Adopting A Telemedicine Solution

Emergency Room Allocation

Acute issues don’t always warrant a hospital visit, much less a trip to the emergency room. With telemedicine technologies, patients can get in touch with their primary care physician and have their ailment evaluated. This will allow your clinic or practice to control your resources and allocate emergency room services for actual urgent care.

Doctors Won’t Be Overscheduled

Follow-up visits can be long and tedious. By adopting a telemedicine practice, both doctors and patients don’t have to spend all day in the waiting room. Sessions can be conducted at home and concluded in a more efficient manner.

Doctors Are Compensated For Calls

Healthcare practitioners aren’t alien to midnight calls. By offering telemedicine solutions, you are providing an official platform to your patients where every call is billable. Patients will have to schedule webcam interactions online within office hours.

More Efficient Diagnosis Process

By connecting your practice or clinic with a network of other specialists, you can easily refer your patients to other medical professionals through telemedicine technology. It’s a great way to expand your customer base and improve your patients’ overall experience.

More importantly, it allows you to provide additional services even without having to hire additional professionals and invest in new tech. For instance, you can send lab results to other professionals in the healthcare industry and relay their findings to your customers.

Lower Readmission Rates

This is especially true for doctors dealing with chronic diseases. With regular patient management, it becomes easier to hold regular sessions and maintain their health. With regular symptom checking and monitoring, you can provide continuous support to your patients, enough to reduce their risk of developing a complication.

Improved Compliance

More accessible communication models mean consistent care. Most patients opt out of follow-up services because of travel and scheduling difficulties. Once these bottlenecks are removed via telemedicine, patients, who now save more time and in-hospital costs, are likelier to comply with your instructions and show up to meetings.

Top Telemedicine Fields

As a practice, telemedicine has almost limitless applications. Listed below are the top eight most promising telemedicine adaptations, and how each specialization can deliver a better level of care through videoconferencing and other telemedicine services:

1. Dermatology

Acute dermatology issues such as rashes are considered outpatient services and can be treated even without a hospital visit. Dermatologists can prescribe creams and other medications necessary to treat the skin condition. With high-definition video, dermatologists can diagnose skin issues even without physical inspection.

2. Psychiatry

By using telemedicine to connect with their patients, psychiatrists and psychologists can ensure patient compliance and better cooperation. Because patients don’t need to go out of their way to attend a session, the stigma associated with seeking behavioral treatment is also mitigated

3. Cardiology

Cardiologists can use remote patient monitoring to manage conditions like congenital heart defects. With regular communication through telemedicine visits, patients are less likely to develop complications and avoid emergency costs.

4. Gastroenterology

Cardiologists can use remote patient monitoring to manage conditions like congenital heart defects. With regular communication through telemedicine visits, patients are less likely to develop complications and avoid emergency costs.

5. OB/GYN

With live video conferencing, OB/GYNs can conduct remote consultations to patients who have just given birth. With this tool, they can guide patients and provide support as the patient recovers from giving birth.

6. Urology

Patients, particularly male patients, suffering from both acute and chronic urinary tract infections can now attend follow-up sessions with video conferencing. Instead of having patients wait in the waiting room, delivering post-operative care becomes easier via telemedicine.

7. Pediatrics

Urgent concerns regarding infant health can now be addressed using telemedicine. By doing so, worried parents can connect with their pediatricians at home, who can then assess whether or not an issue is worth a visit to the emergency room. Patients seeking additional advice from pediatrics may now do so through videoconferencing.

8. Radiology

Radiology centers can open a telehealth program and provide second opinion services. This will allow them to interact with patients in an entirely different area, effectively opening up their clinic to more communities for more bookings.

Setting Up a Telemedicine Practice: How It Works

The set-up depends on your resources. If you are able to connect with a service that can supply you with a platform, then you don’t need to host your telemedicine services with a third party service. This way, your practice or clinic can connect with your doctors without leaving their homes.

However, telemedicine is more than just setting up a video conferencing service. At PracticeBloom, our telemedicine marketing package includes the creation of expertly written content, social media ads, as well as newsletters - all of which are designed to educate both your employees and your patients.

To get started on your telemedicine practice, you must learn more about the workload and bottlenecks experienced by your physicians and specialists. This way, you can determine whether or not adding a telemedicine option will be beneficial for your patients.

Is Telemedicine Right For You?

At the end of the day, any hospital or clinic can set up a telemedicine practice, regardless of specialization. The complexity of your telehealth technology depends on several factors, including local state laws about telehealth and person-to-person consultations, as well as your current resources.

Learn more:  How to Market Your Telemedicine Practice

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