What is Telemedicine?
One of the fastest growing channels in medical delivery is “telemedicine”. This is a pretty broad term, and to some extent, physicians have been practicing via telemedicine since telephones have been invented. However, via the telephone, a doctor cannot look at a skin lesion, listen to a heart or lungs, feel a growth in the abdomen etc. There are obvious limits to the ability to diagnose and therefore treat when not seeing your patient, but rather, just speaking with her/him.
The advent of the internet with the ability to “see” people via Skype, facetime and sundry other video encounters, as well as scanning and e-mailing testing such as x-rays, MRIs, and EKGs have opened up a whole new world in terms of how much more precise a physician can help you without actually seeing you face to face. With many people living in rural/remote areas near physicians and/or certain areas of the country not having specialists readily available, the use of telemedicine is skyrocketing around the country.
Most of what is being delivered via telemedicine are the treatment of routine medical “urgent care” types of illnesses such as bronchitis, urinary tract infections, skin rashes etc. Additionally, post-hospitalization patients can be monitored better via telemedicine. Radiology interpretations and specialist consultation, such as a neurologist helping an ER doctor with a stroke patient are further examples of how we are using telemedicine.
Some specialties would be more amenable to telemedicine delivery than others. For example, a plastic surgeon most definitely needs to see the patient to perform the procedures that plastic surgeons do. Hence, telemedicine would probably not be big in the plastic surgery universe. Psychiatry? Different story: The psychiatrist and patient do not need to be in the same room, but a high definition video encounter being part of the “visit” would go a long way in mimicking an actual office visit, without the need of driving, parking, etc. The cognitive visit with a psychiatrist would be very amenable to telemedicine delivery.
The Serotonin-Plus Weight Control Program is currently in states, 46 locations and growing, yet, I believe we are missing millions of people that could do very well with our program. We often receive inquires from you, our patients, about relatives/friends of yours that do not live near any of our national centers, and how they could access the SP Program. How cool would it be to step on a scale and have that weight automatically upload to our electronic medical record, pump up a cough we send you and your BP gets to our record and then your weekly “visit” is via a HD video encounter? No need to drive, fight traffic, etc etc?
Be on the lookout for an announcement this week that will be groundbreaking in the weight control field. Serotonin-Plus will be able to help any/all of your friends/families/loved ones with a groundbreaking telemedicine delivery system. Details to follow this week…stay tuned!!!