The Importance of Telemedicine and Telehealth

BY: Laura Pinzón | Neighbors’ Consejo|

The development of technology has allowed evolution in different social fields. One of them is the medical field that, with the pandemic, expanded and accelerated the use of new forms of communication between patients and practitioners.

Telemedicine and Telehealth have become one of the most effective ways for the healthcare of people who can much easier consult their professional. There is a slight difference between telemedicine and telehealth. The first is defined as “the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance. A physician in one location uses a telecommunications infrastructure to deliver care to a patient at a distant site”, while telehealth “refers broadly to electronic and telecommunications technologies and services used to provide care and services at-a-distance”[1].

According to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [2] “most telehealth encounters were for adults aged 18–49 years (66% in 2019 and 69% in 2020)”. In addition to this, it is mentioned that during the first quarter of 2020 the number of telehealth visits increased by 50% compared with the same period in 2019.

It has also been found that since the pandemic, the most prevalent consultations of patients are for issues related to mental health, which have increased up to 78 times in April of 2020 than in February 2020. McKinsey & Company reports an “uptake of telehealth depending on specialty, with the highest penetration in psychiatry (50%) and substance use treatment (30%)” [3].

When you are going to have a telemedicine consultation, it is important that you keep these three points in mind: Treat the telemedicine visit just like a regular visit, don’t stress about the technology, and feel free to include another person if you want[4].

References

[1]https://www.aafp.org/news/media-center/kits/telemedicine-and-telehealth.html

[2]https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6943a3.htm

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality

[4] https://www.mskcc.org/news/6-tips-successful-telemedicine-visit-your-cancer-doctor

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