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Telemedicine Improves Healthcare Access For Patients In Rural Areas


With more patients than doctors, securing an ever-elusive appointment is proving troublesome for many Americans. The latest in telemedicine technology now enables patients to access the services of a doctor after inputting their credit card details and symptoms online. Via Skype or FaceTime, a doctor then discusses the patients concerns online and reaches a diagnosis, NY Times reports.

Healthcare and healthcare practitioners in the US are presently stretched to maximum capacity and the latest tech developments are set to save money and eradicate pressure placed on the health care profession. Telemedicine is particularly useful in rural areas and is taking off in India where many patients are unable to access doctors due to their geographic location.

The benefits of telemedicine are numerous; patients can access a doctor within half an hour from the convenience of their own home. Patients in rural areas can now access healthcare more easily and patients who are afraid of the doctor or would otherwise be lazy in prioritizing their healthcare can now make the effort to log on and speak with a doctor.

Conventional practices, however, are not so agreeable when it comes to telemedicine, which is experiencing a backlash as many doctors raise concerns that misdiagnosis is likely when doctors are unable to see their patients in person or physically touch their them in order to perform hands-on examinations. Other concerns include lighting obscuring the coloring of rashes and the inability to perform a thorough exam. Texas state is keen to slow the progression of telemedicine due to mounting concerns.

KCBD reports that patients from the South Plains, who would normally have to travel great distances for care are embracing telemedicine, as the new technology enables patients situated far away from doctors or those who lack access to professionals who deliver specialized care greater opportunities to consult with a doctor.

Dr. Winn, Chief of Infectious Disease at Texas Tech claims that the service “become much more important” when taken into rural areas.

In rural areas, or in areas where there aren’t those availabilities, then something like this becomes much more important. There has been a controversy for a while about whether you have to see them, initially in person to establish contact. Now, again, for rural reasons, that would be really difficult to do.

What are your thoughts on telemedicine?

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