There are currently two major ways you can access remote care from your home: through e-visits with your own provider (if they’re offered) or through a consult with an online-only service, such as Teladoc. This could be as simple as talking to your doctor over the phone or using the Teladoc app to video chat with a doctor, nurse practitioner, or other provider who can write a prescription.
If a practitioner serves several states, obtaining this license in each state could be an expensive and time-consuming proposition. Even if the practitioner never practices medicine face-to-face with a patient in another state, he/she still must meet a variety of other individual state requirements, including paying substantial licensure fees, passing additional oral and written examinations, and traveling for interviews.
Doctor on Demand is a telemedicine service that gives you access to medical doctors 24/7/365 for the treatment of common and worrisome ailments such as urinary tract infections, skin and eye issues, and minor sports injuries. These problems can sometimes lead to trips to the emergency room simply because you cannot get to your doctor in a timely manner. With this service, you register, request a doctor and meet one quickly via your computer or smart device.
On the eve of its July 1 IPO, the company was billed as the first and largest telehealth platform in the United States. The number of visits facilitated in 2014 was 299,000. By 2016, its visit count had grown to 952,000. The company had 8.1 million members in 2014 and 10.6 by the end of the first quarter of 2015. By the end of the first quarter of 2015, the company has 4000 clients including 160 of the Fortune 1000 companies. Two years later, the company had 7500 clients and 220 Fortune 1000 companies.
However, telemedicine also has a few downsides — by nature of its virtual interaction, and because of societal and technological barriers that could change in the future. The good news is, with the growing popularity and widespread acceptance of telemedicine, we’re likely to see the cons of telemedicine resolve themselves. With new technological advancements and shifting policy that increasingly supports telemedicine, we’re continuously finding ways to improve telemedicine and make it a viable, even advantageous form of healthcare delivery for many medical scenarios.
4. Your pharmacist will then tell you what medication you can have and how much you will have to pay for it. Based on your doctor’s recommendation, costs, and other personal factors, you can now decide what medication to use. It’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to determine what medication would be most effective for your health while staying within your budget.
All the numbers point to the exponential growth of telemedicine – in other words, it’s not going anywhere. The global telemedicine market was worth $17.8 billion in 2014, and is projected to grow well beyond that by 2020. ATA President Dr. Reed Tuckson estimated that approximately 800,000 virtual consultations will take place in the U.S. in 2015. And health systems, doctors, legislators, and patients are fueling that upward trend. A recent survey found an incredible90% of healthcare executives were in the process of developing or implementing a telemedicine program, and 84% said these program were important. IHS projected the number of patients using telemedicine will rise from roughly 350,000 in 2013 to 7 million by 2018. And with this high demand for telemedicine, legislators are scrambling to pass bills that offer both support and needed regulations; in August 2015, Congress had 26 telemedicine-related bills waiting for decision.
Sometimes the answer to the question “What is telemedicine?” is simply mobile medicine. It doesn’t require a heavy desktop computer or a lot of equipment. Activities that used to happen only in person are now easy to do on a smartphone. Modern consumers are accustomed to downloading apps and using their smartphones for simple transactions. The same is true for doctor visits. For example, with MDLIVE the patient simply opens the app and clicks to choose a doctor, with whom they can speak either by phone, instant message, or video.
Teladoc® is another alternative to accessing medical care for your non-emergent symptoms 24/7/365. Teladoc® is a convenient and affordable healthcare alternative to expensive and time-consuming E.R. visits or after-hour periods where care is difficult to find. All Teladoc® doctors are board-certified, state-licensed, and can even send a prescription straight to your nearest pharmacy when medically necessary!
Soon after Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, ideas of using a telephone to communicate with physicians started appearing in the medical literature. However, telemedicine was truly born in the 1950s, when radiologic images were successfully transferred by telephone between West Chester and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the late 1960s and 1970s, telemedicine developed with support from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Public Health Service, Department of Defense and other federal agencies.
This expectation for more convenient care, combined with the unavailability of many overburdened medical professionals (especially primary care providers) have led to the rise of telemedicine companies. Many offer patients 24/7 access to medical care with an on-call doctor contracted by that company. Others offer hospitals and larger health centers access to extra clinical staff and specialists, for outsourcing of special cases (common model among teleradiology companies). Still others provide a telemedicine platform for physicians to use to offer virtual visits with their own patients. Increasingly, telemedicine is becoming a way to give medical practices an edge in a competitive healthcare landscape where it’s difficult to stay independent or maintain a healthy bottom line.
Store-and-forward telemedicine is a great way to increase healthcare efficiency since a provider, patient, and specialist don’t need to be in the same place, at the same time. It also facilitates faster diagnosis, especially for patients located in underserved settings that may not have the necessary specialist on staff. Overall, this adds up to lower patient wait times, more accessible healthcare, better patient outcomes, and a more optimized schedule for physicians.
While the loss of an in-person human interaction is often cited by skeptics of telemedicine, 76% of patients said they care more about access to healthcare than having an in-person interaction with their doctors. Also, only 16% if surveyed patients would rather go to the ER for minor conditions if they could instead use telemedicine for treatment. With the ongoing shortage of patient slots open with overburdened primary care doctors, these stat says a lot about patients’ willingness to try out telemedicine.
In the future, experts say, internet-connected sensors—such as blood pressure monitors—could be paired with e-visits to help people manage chronic conditions from home. So far, such devices aren't widely used. But the list of conditions that patients and doctors can manage remotely is “ever expanding,” says Eric Topol, M.D., director of the Scripps Translational Science Institute.