Telemedicine: See your doctor without leaving the house
Imagine sitting at home with a medical problem. You ponder calling your doctor for an appointment, but you don’t feel well enough to leave the house.
Instead, you power up your computer or reach for your tablet or smartphone. Within a few taps or clicks, you’re looking at a live video image of your doctor and speaking directly with him.
Welcome to the world of telemedicine. This is not a vision of the future a few years hence. I use it right now in my practice. This technology has been used for several years to provide specialist access to rural and remote clinics all over the U.S., including Maine. Emergency departments use telemedicine as well in less-than-acute cases. This audiovisual capability allows health providers to observe patients’ signs of illness and overall demeanor and to get an overview of how sick the patient is.
With a live video encounter, my patients feel much more connected than with just a phone conversation. I can see their faces, read their body language and respond to changes that otherwise may be left unaddressed, all while having the full support of my office staff to coordinate additional testing, referrals and treatments.