Through telemedicine, doctors can now assist patients from a distance

Telemedicine in Canada

As technology and the internet become more accessible, so too does improving access to services that would not be always available in distant rural communities, telemedicine. Studies from British Columbia and throughout the world, have shown that the benefits of telemedicine.

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of video conferencing and other electronics to offer access to specialized medical attention remotely, no need travel required.

What we understand as telemedicine today started in the 1950’s when university medical centres and hospital programs began to attempt to find ways to share information and images via telephone. In one of the initial successes, two health centres in Pennsylvania were able to transmit pictures.

In the first days, telemedicine was used mainly to connect doctors working to specialists with an individual at one place else. This was of excellent advantage to reach people where experts are available. So the usage of this approach, while climbing, was restricted throughout the upcoming few decades, the gear required to conduct remote visits remained expensive and complex.

The rise of the age brought with it profound changes for the practice of telemedicine. The proliferation of devices, capable of high-quality video transmission, opened up the possibility of delivering remote healthcare workplaces or assisted care centres as an alternative.

Mobile technology has brought about a widespread adoption of telemedicine

What are the Benefits of Telemedicine?

A recent study from Canada Health Infoway found that telemedicine provides value to both the individual and the provider.

The analysis found 79 percent of individuals who had a virtual visit said the quality of care was that the equal to that of an in-person visit. Furthermore, 91% of patients said they were helped by the online visit together with the health problem for which the appointment was needed by them. The study found that get access to care, individuals who elect for excursions do to save time, and prevent a work absence. Visits enabled continuity of care because of the travel burden, for those in distant communities. When telemedicine was not offered, 13 percent of patients wouldn’t have gone to medical professionals. Wait times also lessened diminishing walk-in and emergency visits.

In Ontario, the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) has been researching ways to improve access to and quality of care since the late 1990’s. They’ve discovered that telemedicine has been successful in reducing patient travel, reducing hospital admissions, and improving efficiency and prompt access to care. Telemedicine adoption is accelerating in Ontario, and it is becoming an essential part of the health system. Using telemedicine has enhanced access to healthcare solutions, especially in sparsely populated areas of the province like Northern Ontario. Another study found similar advantages for obtaining pediatric mental health services in remote communities.

Other studies have examined the benefits of telemedicine for parents whose children require hospital stays. A research at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston found telemedicine to be a viable and easy option, enabling parents to participate despite other requirements, such as work, caring for other dependants, and limited access to transportation. The research found that patients were happy with the usage of telemedicine, citing advantage and cost advantages, without compromising clinical results, as primary advantages. An Australian study echoed those findings. Telemedicine allowed children with disabilities to run visits via conference, saving the costs and time of travel, thereby avoiding the difficulties of transporting patients.

It is not just geographic and economic barriers that telemedicine can aid. For patients, Parkinson Disease telemedicine is showing benefits as well. Travel distance, developing handicap and uneven distribution of physicians can restrict access to care for many Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients. Telemedicine can help overcome these barriers. By telemedicine, over 600 with motion disorders and over patients received care in 2012. Telemedicine can provide a patients an option that is convenient.

The Future of Telemedicine in Canada

Telemedicine is still an increasing part of the sector. It’s shown promise in gaining access to care in underserved and remote areas. Studies have shown a great number of benefits preventing work absence and convenience. Parents of children who need constant medical visits, patients with Parkinson’s Disease and individual that need access to mental health professionals in remote areas, all have found benefits. Telemedicine continues to change and improve as technologies and internet access enhances. Recognizing the potential of telemedicine will take coverage changes some time and a willingness to experiment with research versions and new care by patients, a wide range of sponsors and providers.