Telemedicine: A Service Whose Time Has Arrived

By Tammy Leister, Regional Operational Manager

Telemedicine/telehealth is not a new concept but they certainly are among the new buzzwords that have surfaced since the global pandemic.

The idea of telemedicine as we know it today first appeared in 1924, depicted in Radio News Magazine as using a television and microphone for patients to communicate with a physician. Also, Dr. Willem Einthoven, inventor of the EKG in 1906, conveyed data over phone lines.

Telemedicine was used primarily to transmit information, radiological images, and was a way for medical professional to send and receive documents.  As technology and the internet expanded, so did the abilities and opportunities for telemedicine.

Telehealth has helped to expand access to care at a time when the pandemic severely restricted patient’s ability to see their doctors. COVID-19 has caused a massive acceleration in the use of telehealth.  The potential impact of utilizing telemedicine will be improved convenience and access to care, better outcomes and a more efficient healthcare system.

Telehealth has expanded form the early days when only information was shared to being available for on demand virtual urgent care visits, virtual office visits, home health and behavioral health visits.

Long-term care communities now have access to telehealth equipment and services which has positively impacted the delivery of care to seniors. Telehealth in a long-term care setting has provided the opportunity to connect residents with providers at all hours for any care need. This has enabled residents to be treated in place and avoid hospitalization when appropriate.

Telehealth will continue to grow as technology develops.  It has already positively impacted the way care is delivered by increasing access to necessary care, improving the patient experience and improved outcomes.

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