How Remote Technologies Today Can Keep the Doctor Away

Advancements in Remote Technology Solutions Can Save Lives

This day and age, nearly all of us have had the experience of using some form of remote technology to conduct business. Whether it was simply corresponding via text or email, accessing files remotely through tools like Microsoft’s OneDrive, or something a bit more sophisticated like VPN, Citrix, or Remote Desktop, we have all likely done productive work with one or more of these tools.

The corporate world has become much more accepting of the work from home philosophy as well. This is a concept that for years has been met with much skepticism and push back. The old world management mentality emphasized a physical presence in order to be a productive employee. The general feeling was that if managers were to give employees this level of “freedom” productivity would decline, quality of work would diminish and communication would suffer. In reality, many modern companies today are seeing a wealth of opportunity, productivity improvements, and other advantages through the use of remote technologies.

In fact, the healthcare industry and the patients they serve stands to gain a great deal through the utilization of these types of technology advances. The concept of treating a patient remotely, offering remote diagnosis and treatment is referred to as telemedicine. Telemedicine has been around for decades, beginning with demonstrations of hospitals extending care to patients in very remote regions. In today’s technologically advanced environment telemedicine is expanding into a variety of applications and services through the use of video conferencing tools, email, smart phones, instant messaging, mobile apps and a host of other technologies.

The promise of telemedicine is exciting and well within our reach. The prospect of no longer sitting around in waiting rooms, scheduling appointments months away, getting out of bed when you are not feeling well, and taking time off of work is exciting indeed! However, in a recent survey by the Robert Graham Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on population health, it was determined that a whopping 85% of physician respondents had not used any form of telemedicine in the last 12 months. This same study noted that nearly 90% of physicians would use telemedicine if they were compensated for it.

Therein lies the issue. Some insurers will only reimburse telemedicine encounters only in rural areas, federally qualified health centers, or through value-based programs. The other problem has to do with licensure. In order to provide care in another state, physicians must be licensed in that state. The third notable issue is the cost, complexity, and security concerns with implementing the technologies needed to support this type of interaction.

All that said, the barriers that are currently holding back wide-spread adoption will eventually be overcome. The future of medicine is indeed very exciting and with the right dose of technology, our days of visiting the doctor’s office may one day come to an end!

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