By Abbi Minessale, Content Strategist
Telemedicine has been a topic of conversation since 2014. It was a new and exciting idea but some were skeptical it would really work. By 2019, the telehealth industry found itself rising rapidly. Now, in the wake of COVID-19, the case for video conferencing health professionals is skyrocketing.
In Wisconsin, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin is waiving all copay fees for virtual visits with primary care providers. Thanks to WebRTC, patients can video chat right from their website without having to download any third party apps. As the novel coronavirus progresses, technologies like SignalWire are helping to protect citizens as well as medical personnel. Software Defined Telecom allows for doctors and patients to communicate in real-time without having to meet in person.
One of the biggest advantages of telemedicine, especially now, is avoiding any in person contact. It is much safer to communicate symptoms over a video conference than to risk infecting doctors and other patients. This way, potential carriers don’t spread the virus throughout the entire waiting room and healthier patients won’t catch anything contagious.
Telehealth greatly benefits the medical industry outside of crisis as well. Implementing video conferencing increases the quality of medical care. Those who have difficulty getting to appointments can access their doctors from home in real time, eliminating the need for a commute. In the United States, for example, for every 100,000 rural patients, there are only 43 specialists available. In these rural areas, the numbers are even more sparse when it comes to mental health professionals.
Telemedicine also increases the relationship between doctors and patients. The flexibility and convenience makes patients more engaged with their health and builds appreciation and trust with doctors. Patients with chronic illnesses can find themselves at the doctor often for regulatory check ups. Telehealth saves time by letting people call in from home and gives them more freedom as they are not tethered to a doctors office. Plus, nobody likes showing up 15 minutes early for an appointment, only to sit in the waiting room for another half an hour. And no doctor wants the hassle of dealing with no shows.
Of course face-to-face time with doctors is always going to be necessary, but follow up visits, medication adjustments, edification, and even figuring out if you need to come in at all can all easily be taken care of from home without inconvenience.
The biggest problem telehealth faces now is the dramatic increase of telemedicine calls as COVID-19 continues to spread. Legacy communications tools are not equipped to handle this steep increase in load and often require hasty upgrades to underlying infrastructure. Building communication solutions on SignalWire eliminates the headaches of deployment at the most competitive pricing. Our Video APIs make it easy to add video to existing apps or to those who need to build telealth specific tools. Our video conferencing technology is HIPAA compliant and scalable so no matter how many patients you have there is no worry of overloading your system. This way, medical practices can focus on their patients.