The combination of an ageing population and the demand for high-quality healthcare is putting an unprecedented strain on resources worldwide. Particularly in public and affordable healthcare circles, where gaining access to expert support and advice without extensive delays can be difficult.
All over the world, public health bodies, private organisations and policymakers are constantly on the lookout for viable ways to lighten the load on the healthcare sector. Technology has already transformed the face of modern medicine beyond recognition, but recent developments suggest we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
Case in point – the advent of telemedicine.
A Revolution in the Making
The gradual introduction of telemedicine in key markets worldwide is having a marked impact on the way thousands of people access medical advice. The idea being that there’s no requirement for an individual to be in a specific location to give or receive advice of a medical nature. If the provider and the patient can converse and interact via digital channels – both audibly and visually – why waste time on lengthy commutes and formal in-person visits?
Efficiency and promptness of care provision could be transformed like never before with the adoption of telemedicine on a much wider scale. The growth and evolution of teledermatology in particular have illustrated the concept’s potential. In this instance, those who would have previously had to wait, travel to and pay for the services of a private dermatologist are able to access the information and advice they need quicker, cheaper and in a more convenient manner.
Teledermatology: The Future of Dermatology?
What makes the field of dermatology such an ideal fit for telemedicine is the way in which the provision of care and advice is primarily based on visual examinations alone. In many fields of medicine, it’s near impossible to diagnose a condition without carrying out the kinds of tests that can only be performed in person. With dermatology, a simple look at the problem can be all that’s needed to diagnose and advise on accordingly.
Hence, a high-quality image of the problem can be just as effective as examining it in person.
The same also applies to the resulting treatment of various common skin complaints. Rather than organising time-consuming visits just to check the progress of a condition during treatment, all such consultations could be carried out remotely. If the dermatologist can glance at the image and offer the required advice in a matter of seconds, it makes little sense to waste time on a 30-minute allocated appointment.
If teledermatology technology is adopted on a wider scale, it could have a huge impact on waiting lists and the general availability of specialists. It could also affect the costs of consulting with dermatologists, who may find their own overheads reduced and schedules relaxed by offering remote consultations.
Of course, teledermatology has its limitations and there are some who aren’t convinced by the whole telediagnosis approach to medicine. But at the same time, even those who advocate and support teledermatology don’t suggest that it can or will completely negate the need for in-person consultations.
It’s just that in instances where teledermatology can save time, effort and money for all involved parties, it makes perfect sense to take advantage of it.
Article by iConquer