WHAT IS TELEMEDICINE AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Telemedicine during 2014 generated more than 15% of medical consultations in the United States. For 2015, more than 2 million were made and it is estimated that by 2020, these will double to 5.4 million.

Through concrete results it has gained ground in the world of medicine, strengthening its value proposition and benefits to all who are in contact with it. It has positioned advantages such as direct contact between doctor and patient; remote management and control of acute and chronic pathologies; and daily access to the service and in real time.

How do doctors use telemedicine?

Health professionals have also found in telemedicine an important ally for their daily tasks and are classified as follows according to their use:

  • Transmit medical data and images for diagnosis (40%).
  • Perform consultations and remote monitoring of the patient (35%).
  • Exchange medical information (13%).
  • Maintain constant education and training process (12%).

Who has access?

Telemedicine has a perspective of reaching 7 million users by 2018, and maintaining an annual growth of 25% in the sector, telemedicine is growing by leaps and bounds and there is no doubt that it is an option with great potential for multiple social actors, such as governments, health companies and insurers, doctors, patients, academia, among others.

Only in Latin America there are more than 2.3 million users can meet their medical needs through its online platform. It is most used American Healthcare System. In our continent, important steps are being taken to consolidate this service and make it part of the daily life of our communities, which is why countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, the United States and Canada already have telehealth laws and have carried out proven practices.

This service is an option to the long waiting times to go to the doctor and the growing deficit of doctors, per capita, that the region faces. In addition, it allows capitalizing on the growth trend of Internet penetration in Latin America, where currently more than half of the population (52%) has access to the network.

Savings for all:

From another perspective, telemedicine is also a key ally for insurance and health companies. It helps to maintain costs derived from the excess use of the emergency center and unnecessary readmissions, considering that, according to the American Medical Association (AMA) 75% of visits to the doctor can be treated via video consultation or by phone call. 

Similarly, among other benefits for insurance businessmen, telemedicine helps them to expand their services and overcome geographic or temporary barriers, all without incurring patients in high and new costs that would be framed in the traditional health system.

Likewise, telemedicine also represents an investment in health for patients, especially those who suffer from chronic pathologies and need regular control, since they can access this by saving time and money, which translates into an improvement in their quality of life for themselves.

In a study conducted by Healthcare CommunIT in 2014, it was reflected that 86% of people check the Internet on their health status before going to a medical consultation. Data without a doubt gives a great possibility of growth to this sector.

In short, telemedicine represents innovative and effective options for treating patients, preventing the obstacles that arise when moving to the medical center, the hours of traffic and long waits until the patient is seen.