Understanding Telemedicine & The Benefits for Physician Practices

Part 1 – What exactly is telemedicine and what are the types?

Telemedicine is defined as the transfer of medical information via telecommunication (both synchronous and asynchronous) technology or specially designed medical devices for the purpose of delivering healthcare services and clinical information. – HIMSS 2016

Healthcare providers, including physicians, recognize that telemedicine is broad from store-and-forward, to imaging services, to physician consults, to asynchronous communication, to video conferencing. However, most patients only view telemedicine as video conferencing. Unfortunately, providers struggle with video conferencing as it is less efficient than the office visit so they do not offer telemedicine, as defined by patients, as part of their practice. But, you have options to meet patient wants without dramatically changing your practice.

The reality is if you have a practice website with any information related to your practice services or patient education,  by definition you are offering telemedicine to your patients. However, your patients want more. In fact, research shows that 74% of patients want to receive care via telemedicine.

The telemedicine spectrum includes everything from your website through video conferencing. This image helps to better understand the continuum.

Now that you understand what is telemedicine, you need to understand why you should consider offering it to patients. In Part 2 of 11, we explore the research data as to what patients and physicians want and why.

As always, please let our team know if we can assist you in exploring your telemedicine options and needs. There is no obligation. But, 15 minutes invested in learning more could help you prepare for the future.