Telemedicine: How advances in technology have improved healthcare

Over the years, the healthcare field has undergone many changes and a large number of these changes can be attributed to technology.  From doctors and nurses taking handwritten notes to now carrying iPads and tablets from room to room, the cyber age has infiltrated all areas of our lives.  The use of modern day technology in the field of healthcare has brought forth many benefits, with one of the most important being telemedicine.   

For some, going to the doctor can evoke feelings of anxiety.  Whether it’s a bad experience from years ago or the simple fact of being in a vulnerable position around strangers,  there are countless reasons people avoid making a doctor’s appointment. Telemedicine offers a terrific solution to this problem, as new technologies allow patients access to healthcare professionals who can provide evaluations, diagnosis, treatments and 24-hour counseling from the comfort of their own home. This service has been around for about a decade but has seen a significant rise in popularity over the last couple of years, r and for good reason.

The first step in the path to seeking telemedicine is much like the journey you would take selecting any healthcare provider.  First, you’re matched with a physician based on your specific need, whom you consult to explain your symptoms or concerns. Together, you come up with a treatment plan, and if this is a chronic condition, you can make plans for follow up appointments. Imagine how much more convenient, not to mention comfortable, this process  Now, imagine all of this can be done in the privacy of your own home with just the click of a button.

This type of treatment has been successful for many people of all walks of life. For example, if you’re without transportation, unable to afford child care, or currently without insurance. Telemedicine makes it possible for you to see a doctor and seek care.   Or, if you live in a rural area and don’t have access to a treatment center like someone from a more urban area might, I definitely suggest checking out options for telemedicine-based care.  People are no longer having to forgo medical treatment because of the hurdles of everyday life, many of which they have little control over.

One of the biggest attractions to telemedicine besides location accessibility is the element of privacy this type of care affords. This can be especially true when it comes to treating matters of sexual health.  From birth control, to STI screening, telemedicine provides patients with top-notch care through their phones or computers.  Waiting in a clinic or office for results can cause an uneasy feeling, but this can all be a thing in the past with the technological advances brought on by telemedicine.

The use of telemedicine in the promotion of good sexual health has been a positive one, to say the least. It’s no secret that women struggle on a daily basis to access birth control.  This could be simply due to the fact that their doctor is a family doctor and they’re afraid to ask them questions of a sexual nature, or maybe a high deductible health insurance plan is getting in the way.  Telemedicine alleviates these feelings and provides its patients with a safe, affordable and accessible place to obtain the medications they need.

Treatment via telemedicine is quickly erasing the stigma surrounding sexual health and allowing those dealing with these issues to face them head-on.  For example, women who use birth control for instances beyond contraception, such as a treatment for acne or regulating menstrual cycles, can avoid the unnecessary steps a visit to the doctor may incur and receive their birth control at their front door.

Patients aren’t the only ones benefiting from telemedicine; many healthcare providers have joined the telemedicine movement for a number of reasons.  Increased revenue, flexibility in scheduling, less competition, and a better work-life balance are just a few ways in which practices have seen improvements while providing care through telemedicine.  Many doctors find their patients are much more open to discussing concerns with them via phone or computer as opposed to in an office setting.

Through advances in technology, telemedicine has had a positive impact on those who have been unable to seek the proper medical attention in the past for various reasons.  Because of these technological breakthroughs in healthcare, women, in particular, have better opportunities to obtain medications like birth control, those suffering from chronic illness can decrease the wait time for follow up appointments, and anyone who may feel embarrassed to confront a doctor face to face can let go of those feelings and seek the help they need without ever having to leave their safe zone.    

ZonaSegura ZonaSegura is a trauma-informed youth-centered innovative mobile solution to address teen dating violence in Honduras. Learn more about ZonaSegura on our program page.