What It Is and How It Works
The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as medical information exchanged between two sites using electronic communications. This can include smart phones, cameras, telecommunication stations, the internet, wireless electronics and similar tools.
The key benefit of telemedicine technology is that it facilitates the provision of medical and mental health treatment to patients who would not otherwise have access to it. While most obviously useful in rural and underserved areas, any area that is in need of a specialist can use telemedicine to connect a provider with a patient that needs their help.
Telemedicine can be used to provide many aspects of care including consultation, medication management, even inpatient services. Telemedicine is rapidly altering the way healthcare is delivered to allow better access to care and better patient outcomes.
video from Global Med about Telemedicine:
Psychiatrists are in short supply and not always readily available. The wait time for psychiatrists to see new patients can be weeks or even months. Patients with mental health problems can visit emergency rooms, but these facilities aren't always adequately equipped to handle these patients.
Telepsychiatry allows hospitals and other health care facilities to connect with mental health care specialists. Psychiatrists can easily be brought in via videoconferencing. They can help manage the mental health difficulties of the patient, from emergency room visits to inpatient services.
Telestroke is the use of telemedicine consultation with a neurologist to effectively treat patients who are suspected of having a stroke. Acute stroke can be a terrifying ordeal for patients and providers. Time critical decisions about whether or not to provide potentially disability preventing treatments must be made by trained professionals. Given to the wrong patient or outside the critical time window, the treatments can lead to severe negative outcomes.
Many hospitals and emergency rooms are not properly equipped to handle an acute stroke. Telestroke can help your hospital to be staffed by trained neurologists. Such services are one key step in becoming a Certified Stroke Center. Establishing a hospital as a stroke center can improve patient outcomes, lead to fewer transfers, and increased revenue and prestige of your facility.
Store and Forward Telemedicine
Store and forward telemedicine is used to allow specialists to help diagnose medical conditions across great distances. Images or other data are collected, then stored electronically. They are forwarded to another site where specialists interpret the studies and make further recommendations.
This is especially popular with EEG studies, dermatology, and retinal images. Images can be taken of the heart, skin, brain, eyes or any other part of the body, stored, and forwarded to outside medical centers. This allows specialists to view the images at their convenience and provide timely feedback. Store and forward telemedicine can allow improved efficiency and allows access to highly specialized providers, even to facilities in rural or undeserved areas..
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Now that you know what telemedicine is and how Synapse can help your facility benefit from this technology, it’s time to begin. Click below to get started.