Telemedicine booming during the COVID pandemic was a good thing born out of necessity. With the pandemic now hopefully in the rear-view mirror, there is a temptation to let telemedicine fall by the wayside. That would be a mistake. We have discovered that technology can effectively facilitate remote healthcare delivery when used properly. To throw it away would be a monumental waste of resources.
Assuming we keep telemedicine as an option, what is the best way to use it? That depends on specialty and patient need. There are too many variables to come up with a black-and-white formula. However, creating some sample scenarios – much the same way digital marketers develop customer personas – would go a long way toward answering the question.
Below are five scenarios for which telemedicine makes sense. They are offered by CSI Health, a San Antonio, Texas company that designs and builds telemedicine kiosks, portable telehealth kits, and complete telehealth clinics.
1. Routine Primary Care
The first scenario involves a family in need of routine primary care. Johnny has the sniffles and Mary’s next well-child visit is coming up quickly. Mom can get both taken care of in a single telehealth visit right from her own home. She doesn’t have to take time off from work or spend time in the car driving to and from the doctor’s office.
Because so much of primary care revolves around doctor-patient conversations rather than hard diagnostics, many visits do not have to be in-person. Video chat works just fine.
2. Follow-Up Visits
Next up is a middle-aged patient dealing with a chronic illness. After her last visit, the doctor wanted to schedule a follow-up to discuss how her new prescription is working. In this case, taking two hours out of her day to visit in-person doesn’t seem to make sense. Follow-up can be just as easily conducted via a telemedicine solution.
3. Discussing Test and Lab Results
Edwin’s doctor asked to see him in order to discuss his latest test and lab results. Again, unless there is a diagnostic need for an in-office visit, telemedicine should work just as well. The one exception here might be the need to deliver bad news. Edwin and his doctor might prefer to have the conversation in-person.
4. Annual Physicals
The annual physical is non-negotiable to Karen. Even if she has no other needs, she visits the doctor at least once a year in order to get a benchmark on her health. This is yet another scenario for which telemedicine works very well. However, it works better when diagnostics are involved.
This would be the ideal situation for a patient to make use of a remote healthcare kiosk with built-in diagnostics. Despite seeing the patient remotely, the doctor still has access to crucial data like heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
5. Administrative Visits
Last but not least are administrative visits. A good example would be a disabled patient looking to renew his accessible parking placard. He needs his doctor’s signature on the DMV form but because his disability is permanent, there is no need to be examined yet again. Doctor and patient can consult over video chat while the form can be transferred electronically.
Modern telemedicine solutions can be anything from simple blood pressure kiosks to complete remote conics with full diagnostic capabilities. Needless to say, there are plenty of scenarios for which telemedicine makes sense. In some cases, it is the best option possible. Here is hoping the U.S. healthcare industry values telemedicine enough to not let it go by the wayside in the post-pandemic future.