Presently, the field of telemedicine is witnessing change at a very fast pace, a pace much faster than before. The reason behind this has been attributed to the rapid strides which technology has taken in recent years. This has led telemedicine providers to be able to provide more affordable services than before, which includes round-the-clock access to medical care, virtual doctor visits and staffing solutions for the healthcare industry.
Today, with smartphones being virtually in everyone's hands, a wide range of mobile applications have been developed by telemedicine providers, which are used extensively for monitoring the health of patients. A number of smart and portable devices have also been developed by such providers for measuring body vitals of clients at home, some of the most common ones being those of glucose and blood pressure.
Guidelines for Telemedicine
Every service has its own set of guidelines which needs to be followed. This includes telemedicine as well. Even though telemedicine providers and users are yet to have a standard set of guidelines, the American Medical Association or the AMA has set up guidelines for providing telemedicine services, some of which are as follows:
· Usage: Telemedicine is not to be used in case the condition of the patient is such that it necessitates examination by a licensed medical practitioner.
· Notifying the patient: It is imperative for telemedicine providers to notify patients in advance regarding the working of the services, its limits and the communication protocols which need to be maintained.
· Evaluation and Management: It is the responsibility of telemedicine service providers to find and furnish the best services to their patients.
· Billing: Telemedicine providers should ensure that the patients are informed beforehand about the costs incurred.
Consequently, telemedicine providers are responsible for the following:
- Understanding the requirements of a patient
- Ensuring the patient is able to find the best doctor
- Recording and maintaining patient data on a database
Restrictions for Telemedicine
Even though telemedicine is greatly gaining in popularity, it has a few impediments in its path to widespread usage. These barriers include state-imposed legislation restrictions, state-specific licensure requirements and reimbursement policies for both patients and doctors.
A number of analysts predict that by the year 2020, telemedicine will be a multi-billion dollar industry. In a recent survey, more than three-fourths of the people surveyed were not just interested but predicted a bright future for it.
Robotic arms, smart watches with built-in health trackers and other such smart devices which can harness the true power of telemedicine services will play a key role in the near future.
The prospects of telemedicine providers are thus bright and promising.