Telemedicine: Need of the hour

In the times of pandemic here is something which can get you some relief
Telemedicine: Need of the hour
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When people are facing fear of contractingcoronavirus infection, here is something which can be a sign of relief-telemedicine. Telemedicine includes clinical services provided viatelecommunication technology. In other words you can get treated at your home-stay safe, stay home. As rightly said by 'Thomas Fuller':

He who cures a disease may be theskillfullest,

but he that prevents it is the safest physician

When the things are on the verge ofbreakdown, incredible economic catastrophe – it is the time to control thedisaster. Lockdown is a right decision to prevent further transmission.Telemedicine is the need of hour to treat the patients at home, as there areother diseases than coronavirus that need to be treated on time as well.Telemedicine originally developed in USA in 1967. This technology was used byhealth professionals to reach remote patients living in rural areas. It hadpotential to reach urban population with healthcare shortages and to respond tomedical emergencies by sharing medical consultation without delay. Telehealthand e-health can be synonymously used for telemedicine.

Telemedicine field is changing faster thanever before. So in this time of pandemic due to covid-19 , we can use thistechnology to reach every nook and corner of a nation. While social distancingis a priority, we can have 24/7 access to medical care through telemedicinetechnology. As in our state we had already started telephonic consultationsthanks to Dr Sunanda Raina and Dr Samia Rashid, principals GMC Jammu andSrinagar for taking initiative by using telemedicine as a part of preventiveand curative method in the time of pandemic crisis. Doctors all over the worldare trying their best to keep the world safe from this lethal virus byproviding consultations over phone. That is why telemedicine literally means'healing at a distance' and signifies the use of communication and informationtechnologies to improve patient outcome. And treating patients at home reducingrisk of exposure to coronavirus unless there is a medical emergency which needhospitalization.  Telemedicine can bebroken into three categories:

  • Store- and- forward telemedicine
  • Remote monitoring
  • Interactive telemedicine

Store and forward telemedicine involvesacquiring medical data and transmitting this to a doctor. Remote monitoringalso known as self monitoring or testing. Is primarily used for managingchronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, asthma etc. Interactivetelemedicine services provide real time interactions between patient and doctorwhich include phone conversations, online communications and home visits. Everytechnology has its benefits and bottlenecks, so has this technology.

BENEFITS

  • Better health outcome for patients
  • Expand patient outreach at the time of pandemics
  • Reduce hospital visits
  • Reduce unnecessary exposure to infections
  • Convenient and easily accessible
  • Immediate urgent care
  • Cost savings

BOTTLENECKS

  • High speed internet
  • Lack of public awareness
  • Lack of health infrastructure like HIS,RIS etc.
  • Telemedicine is effectively good tool for treating diseases like allergies, asthma, diabetes, hypertension, mental illness, eye related diseases, skin related diseases and many more. Let's try to use this technology in the time of pandemic crisis for a better future.

Dr Saadat Nazir Shah, transfusion medicine GMC jammu

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