It has been more than 50 years when the doctors first began experimenting with telemedicine to connect with patients in far-off places over the telephone. Since then, it has developed, and in the modern era of electronic communication and rapid internet access, telemedicine is becoming necessary for medical professionals. The COVID-19 outbreak, with its lockdown, social seclusion, and self-isolation practices, has made this practical healthcare tool even more essential.
Telemedicine is defined as the process of evaluating, diagnosing, and treating patients with the help of telecommunication tools. It is regarded as an effective way to address patients’ needs individually and customize their treatment plan through audio or video call.
Telemedicine versus Telehealth
Telemedicine and telehealth are considered the same but slightly different in their practical meanings. Telehealth is a generic term, and Telemedicine is a subsidiary of telehealth.
Telehealth generally refers to the use of mobile applications and digital media to track an individual’s health status. In the UAE, almost every major hospital or clinic is making use of Telehealth for a better understanding of health conditions and to make healthcare information more accessible and convenient for every person.
On the other hand, telemedicine defines a more specific field of telehealth and refers to the one-on-one communication between the patient and the healthcare provider. You may arrange a video conference with your doctor from the comfort of your home, which leads to decreasing the healthcare gaps among the masses. Telemedicine software allows patients to see their doctor for consultation without having to fix a prior appointment.
Benefits of Telemedicine
Since the cost of healthcare facilities and services is increasing in the UAE, it has become difficult for everyone to access medical facilities, especially after COVID-19; people are becoming more concerned about their health circumstances. Telemedicine has bridged this gap by ensuring access to healthcare facilities and helping patients connect with healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine has brought multiple benefits to the people in the UAE and is rapidly changing the health scenario for the majority.
Telemedicine has proven to improve communication between doctors and patients more effectively. Patients have reported being more vocal about their problems than in conventional appointments. During the video conferencing, the doctors have reported giving more attention and facetime listening to the patients as they don’t have to get prepared for the physical examination.
Easy Access to Healthcare
There is a dearth of medical personnel that many hospitals and clinics demand. By offering medical advice lines and medical call centers, it would be easier to eliminate the patient crowd in the waiting rooms, and every patient would be able to access consultation and advice without waiting in long queues. In this situation, telemedicine can easily track down the patient’s symptoms to determine when they need medical attention. Additionally, patients can use telemedicine to access state-of-the-art care from medical professionals around the country.
Increased Patient Satisfaction
Various patients have reported being more satisfied with the one-on-one consultation session with their healthcare practitioner through telecommunication. They have to wait lesser, and since they are telecommunicating from their comfort space, it is easier for them to be more communicative regarding their health status. This sort of virtual healthcare has boosted patient satisfaction and is rapidly becoming a more popular way of communication between doctors and patients in the UAE.
Enhanced Productivity in Lesser Time
Increased productivity, return on investment, and time management is ensured by Telemedicine.. The time saved by digitalizing healthcare can be used in other ways. The doctor can utilize this time to increase and streamline their clinical flow.
Ensured SafetyFfrom Outside Infections
Telemedicine has significantly reduced the likelihood that medical professionals will contract any infection from their patients. Since the front-line healthcare providers were most in danger of contracting the coronavirus, this was another factor in the rise in popularity of telemedicine during the pandemic. Telemedicine consultations can be provided to prescreen patients for any infectious contraction. It has also helped reduce the need for unwell people to visit the doctor.
Ease of Fixing a Schedule for an Appointment
Working people usually need to take a day off work for doctor appointments. Students must also miss class to see a doctor, however. With Telemedicine, patients don’t have to skip any day from work as they can easily schedule their appointment any time of the day, and since these happen virtually, people can even attend these from their workplaces.
Lesser Waiting Hours
Online consultations through telemedicine help patients save significant time as they don’t have to prepare for their appointments and travel. There is typically no waiting time required; even if there is any, you can do whatever you want in the waiting period since you are in the comfort of your home. This contrasts with clinic appointments, where patients must spend time sitting around and doing nothing.
The Future of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is growing into a requirement for healthcare providers all over the world. It is a thriving area of healthcare that is anticipated to expand significantly in the next coming years.
The UAE’s ministry of health is collaborating with one of the leading telecom companies to establish the first virtual hospital in the country, which will be centrally dedicated to telehealth in the world. Its goals will be to eliminate geographical barriers, offer patients accessible care from the convenience of their homes, reduce healthcare expenses, and provide the finest treatment possible.
Limitations of Telemedicine
Besides Telemedicine being a grasping aspect of the health sector in the UAE, there are still a few limitations to it.
- The healthcare practitioner should have proper technical training and equipment to arrange a Telemedicine session.
- The patient’s medical data and history must be stored in a database to be accessed easily without going through a huge amount of data.
- Some people still feel shy and uncomfortable during the video sessions and prefer doctor’s visits.
- During the video conference, the patient has to explain his health status thoroughly, along with each of the symptoms, to receive an accurate diagnosis. Any symptom that is not mentioned may result in an improper or inaccurate diagnosis.
- A physical examination is required to understand the person’s health condition in certain cases correctly. Since Telemedicine is based on virtual consultation, it is impossible to examine a person physically, making it complicated for the doctor to diagnose the disease via phone or video call.
A large population has embraced the concept of Telemedicine in the UAE. Remote medicine is made accessible to everyone and has successfully filled the gap created due to expensive medical services in the country. Since digitalization has become a go-to for the majority of the population in the UAE, it is expected that sooner, telemedicine will come up as a giant and vital methodology in the healthcare sector.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Telemedicine uses telecommunication to address and evaluate patients’ health conditions through video and audio calls.
Is telemedicine similar to telehealth?
Telehealth refers to providing general health services through the use of telecommunication technology, while telemedicine is defined as the diagnosis and treatment of patients remotely through audio or video communication.
Enlist some of the benefits of telemedicine.
Cost reduction, no need for transportation, ease of accessing healthcare facilities, less infectious exposure, and no need to wait are some of the lucrative benefits of telemedicine.
Who benefits from Telemedicine the most?
People who are living far off the urban areas and cannot access medical care can seek maximum benefits from Telemedicine.