In the past, house calls by doctors were pretty routine. Today, the practice has all but been abandoned.
Thanks to advances in technology, this is changing. A new version of the house call is taking shape. Forbes.com wrote that telemedicine could be the new face of health care delivery.
According to the American Academy to Family Physicians, telemedicine can be defined as the use of telecommunications by physicians to diagnose, consult, treat and transfer medical data.
It’s basically health care at a distance. A doctor and patient can conduct an appointment online. It’s particularly useful for rural areas.
The American Association of Medical Colleges predicts a nationwide shortage of more than 90,000 doctors by 2020, leaving a hole in health care, reported TheAtlantic.com. Telemedicine could play an important role filling that hole and treating patients.
The house call could have a resurgence by the simple fact that people most likely will have their online medical appointments at home. And with telemedicine, your family physician could use technology to deliver that care with their personal touch.
Another benefit of telemedicine is that patients can ask simple questions without the need to take time off for an office visit.
According to TheAtlantic.com, as of 2013, only 12 percent of Americans had ever emailed or texted with a physician. But nearly a third of those under age 30 liked the idea of their primary communication with their doctors being conducted online.
Teague, a Seattle design firm, has taken the idea of telemedicine one step farther.
Teague envisions A Doctor In A Box kit. It would come with a smart stethoscope, capable of hearing the heart or lungs, and taking high-definition images on the skin’s surface, as well as a teleconferencing camera that can beam video to the doctor and track the body’s movement, heart rate and temperature.
People could buy the kit, perform basic tests, and then teleconference with a doctor.
Another company called HealthTap is currently offering a service called Prime where for $99 a month, subscribers can text, call and send videos to a doctor at any time, day or night.