US Telemedicine: The solution to health problems without having to leave home
Crispín Garrido Mancilla / Infonort News Agency
For most of us, the compound word “telemedicine”, which means distance medicine, is totally new or unknown, but it can represent the difference between life and death or between suffering from a disease or having the doctor’s assistance with just dial a phone number.
Let’s start by clarifying that telemedicine is essentially a call center attended by doctors, trained to give consultation by listening to the patient and observing their symptoms through the remote camera of a cell phone or computer.
And so that you do not expose yourself to falling into the hands of charlatans, the first thing you should check is the money you pay for the services they provide you can be reimbursed by your private medical insurance or by Medicare or Medicaid, which would not authorize the business operation that is not legally established.
What are the main advantages of telemedicine?
Patients do not have to leave their homes or work centers to consult with a doctor about such common diseases as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, illness or chronic pain, which means saving time and money on the move.
US Telemedicine is a magical solution for those who have mobility problems, such as the elderly or disabled, but also for those who live in rural areas, where distances imply greater spending on transportation and work permits.
Also reduce significantly the loss of appointments derived from contingencies such as traffic or by not having who takes care of the children.
Patients do not have to wait days or weeks to get an appointment with the family doctor or, failing that, go to the emergency room, where bills can be one thousand, two thousand or three thousand dollars.
The cost of telemedicine consultations is between 20 and 70 dollars cheaper than in personal visits to the doctor, with the addition that it can be paid by debit or credit card, and the costs are reimbursed without problems by private insurers, Medicare or Medicaid.
At a distance, doctors can treat about 70 percent of the conditions, and can even provide remote assistance in cases as extreme as symptoms prior to a stroke or postoperative care.
Even telemedicine retinopathy detection programs prevent serious eye diseases and reduce the incidence of blindness in diabetic patients.
US Telemedicine has managed to substantially reduce mortality and complications and readmissions to hospital for patients discharged from intensive care units, by facilitating access to the instructions of the doctor or nurse from the comfort of home.