Evaluating Telemedicine

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Since the development of telemedicine, numerous applications have been found for it; a trend that is continuing. From simple evaluations of lower acuity ailments like the common cold – to life-threatening ailments like strokes – telemedicine is changing the healthcare system. With the expansion of new mobile applications and better ways to share information, midlevel providers, physicians, and specialist are better able to collaborate to provide the best treatments possible.

Hospitals that once lacked the ability to diagnose strokes quickly enough to administer treatment, are now better able to communicate with outside facilities and specialists to assess the needs of patients. In the case of strokes, which require quick evaluation and treatment, it can be costly and time consuming to transfer a patient to another facility. By the time a patient with a potential stroke is transferred, it may be too late to evaluate and administer the appropriate treatment. Using telemedicine, hospitals are able to share patient information with specialists to provide quicker diagnoses and faster treatments. One such service, TeleStroke, does this to help under-equipped hospitals evaluate and treat stroke patients. While Mayo Clinic in Arizona has found success using a smartphone application to share radiology imaging for stroke patients with consulting specialists to evaluate patients.

Telemedicine applications have also been used to improve monitoring of diabetic patients, as well as decrease diabetes-related hospitalizations. Such applications allow patients to record their health information in real time, a more reliable practice than trying to think back to what their numbers were and log them in a notebook to take to their scheduled appointments. Using an app, this information can be easily shared with their physicians, who can then review the data and recommend further treatments. One other advantage to using an application like this is that it gives patients another way to educate themselves about their condition and what they need to do to obtain/maintain better health.