TeleMedicine and Medical Advancements in Rural Areas

Thasin Jaigirdar
Aug 27, 2015

As technological innovations become more complex and impressive than ever, humanity is consistently discovering new ways to make life easier, ensure services are more effective, and even provide better healthcare. The world of medicine has come a long way over the decades, and now scientists are searching for methods that might allow better care to be delivered to individuals in rural areas – who otherwise might night have access to physicians and surgeries.

Unfortunately, some people throughout the United States, and indeed across the world, simply do not have access to the healthcare and assistance that they need. To this end, telemedicine is perhaps the most significant step forward that can be made―offering doctors the opportunity to connect with patients from a distance, regardless of where they might be located.

What is Telemedicine?

Today, more people have the ability to access Wi-Fi and Bluetooth than ever before. With an Internet connection, telemedicine makes it possible for individuals to have their annual checkups conducted while they're in the privacy of their own homes. With the right devices and applications, doctors can check the vital signs of patients, including their weight and blood pressure, without actually seeing them in person. From there, all relevant information can be recorded and transmitted directly to the appropriate physician.

Though the concept of telemedicine is not exactly new, having been around for approximately 40 years, the possibilities surrounding this form of healthcare have grown significantly over the last decade. Today, telemedicine applications are used in more than half of the hospitals throughout the United States as a way of extending specialty care services to remote areas. Yet the possibilities don't end there.

With telemedicine, you could potentially put on a pair of technological glasses and step into a reality that makes you feel as though you're engaged in a checkup with your family doctor, regardless of where you are in the world. Although the applications may seem too futuristic to be real, the truth is that advancements in telemedicine could be transporting us into a whole new realm for effective healthcare.

What's Holding Telemedicine Back?

A significant limitation that physicians and scientists face when attempting to evolve the concept of telemedicine is the availability of reliable networks and electrical services. For a variety of areas such as Calgary, electricity rates may be holding back adoption. Advocates of the telemedicine movement are desperately searching for new ways to make connectivity between patients and practitioners easier and more portable.

Currently, cellular networks are becoming one of the most significant factors in the development of telemedicine, and networks are finding new ways to support higher bandwidth than usual. This is allowing for the transfer of high-quality audio and video from almost any location. After all, using technology to conduct an appropriate checkup requires the ability to see and hear a clear and concise picture from both ends of the correspondence.

Licensure Considerations

What's more, although today's physicians do not currently need a particular set of credentials in order to practice as a telemedicine provider, they will need to pay special attention to a variety of different factors. First of all, doctors will need to be sure that they are capable of following all of the regulations and requirements set out by their particular state for telemedicine practice. What's more, issues of hospital credentialing and privileging issues may become apparent as telemedicine starts to serve a larger base of rural patients.

Keeping Up with the Latest Advancements

Medicine and healthcare are a crucial, yet highly complicated aspect of society. In order to care for humanity, it's important to carry out research that could potentially lead to better medicine, improved methods of providing care, and more. However, it's important to note that any significant developments will take time to test and perfect.

On top of this, the evidence suggests that we are constantly making progress in regards to new technologies and connectivity solutions. As the months and years pass by, scientists will discover new ways of improving the system for telemedicine, meaning that in the not-too-distant future, high-quality healthcare could be available to anyone. And it does not matter how rural their current location may be.