How telemedicine ensures you're home for the holidays

Dec 19, 2016 / The telemedicine advantage /

While there's no place like home for the holidays, unforeseen problems and certain challenges can upend even the best holiday plans. As this time of year approaches, falling ill or suffering an injury could require patients to seek treatment, and without easy access to health services, this can put a damper on their season.

Telemedicine is a critical tool for connecting patients to the services they need most, regardless of where they live or their ability to travel. Telemedicine encounter management software, video conferencing and other tools are helping providers not only bridge the gap in areas with limited healthcare infrastructure but also helping patients receive care from the comfort of their home community. And around the holidays, this is especially important.

Home for the holidays

Telemedicine systems are revolutionizing how chronic and on-going treatment is delivered. Traveling to and from the doctor's office can be expensive and difficult for patients, creating unnecessary hardship and making the entire process of seeking care more stressful. To make matters worse, sometimes, simple ailments can lead to unnecessary hospital admissions if a provider can't easily make a full assessment. Through the use of telemedicine, physicians can work with patients remotely, minimizing or eliminating the need to travel while still providing powerful, targeted care.

During the holiday season, this ability to work closely with a physician from a nearby telemedicine portal minimizes unnecessary travel time or complicated care. The season should be spent visiting family members, preparing holiday treats and enjoying cherished traditions, and not driving to and from the doctor's office. With telemedicine, patients who might otherwise be burdened by travel can instead stay home for the holidays.

Spreading cheer

Falling ill during the holidays can be a real damper on those living in urban areas, but for rural patients, this can create an even greater problem. Communities in the countryside usually have a less robust healthcare infrastructure, and for that reason, access to care can be more complicated. The Washington State Office of Financial Management, for example, found that non-urban residents travel 34 percent further for health services than do individuals living in the suburbs or cities.

This can be especially problematic for patients with on-going treatments who work closely with health professionals. Through the use of telemedicine stations at local clinics or hospitals, however, it can be easier to coordinate with a physician and receive meaningful advice or care without driving nearly as far. During most of the year, this is a way to ensure access to important healthcare services, but around the holidays, this is also a way to achieve normalcy and focus on the spirit of the season.

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