(Cold Spring, NY) The Internet offers opportunities for businesses to interact with customers and embrace new technological trends to close deals online. These businesses are using features like Live Chat, which allows an agent to chat with visitors in real time, answer their questions and give them the information they need to make an informed buying decision. Aurora Information Technology (Aurora IT), a medical website design
company recognizes this as the wave of healthcare marketing known as telemedicine, or telehealth.
Loosely defined as medical services that are delivered via telecommunications such as video conferencing and web chats, telemedicine can reduce costs and maintain quality of care. "This is a step in the right direction as doctors have long criticized the government for being to slow to adopt telemedicine coverage," says Daniel Gilbert, CEO of Aurora IT, specialists in medical marketing
, customized software programming, and medical content management.
The United States is way behind the curve when it comes to employing technology in healthcare, but it's not for the lack of options. "There is an 'old school' mindset that prevents doctors from using the technology and conversely, there is a preference from insurers to pay for health outcomes instead of the actual procedures," said Gilbert, an expert in medical website development
Insurers are slowly beginning to embrace this medium since their major incentives include low-cost preventive care consultations. The American Medical Association supports telemedicine insurance coverage for healthcare providers. Recently, Virginia became the 12th state to mandate insurance coverage for telemedicine, including interactive audio, video or other media used for diagnosis, consultation or treatment.
Of course, there are roadblocks, like with security and privacy, which is not just unique to telemedicine. However, Aurora IT's medical website design software
features data encryption and HIPAA compliance. Also, the cost of technology can be prohibitive, but considering the savings, these systems could end up paying for themselves rather quickly. Additionally even the most basic Internet user has the necessary computer access for a virtual consultation. And there are issues with state licensing. Differing state laws makes telemedicine complicated, but would benefit greatly from standardized regulations.
Also, there is the common sense of determining when telemedicine is appropriate and when it is not. Opponents of telemedicine believe that while telemedicine is good for follow-ups or health maintenance, patients can't be adequately assessed and treated in most cases without an onsite visit. And it's sufficient when dealing with a pre-existing condition but not with an unknown medical problem. "But the patient and the doctor must exercise caution in determining what can be handled virtually," says Gilbert. However, telemedicine can provide essential preventive care that can reduce emergency room visits. Expanding preventive care results in a more cost-effective and proactive healthcare system that catches preventable chronic diseases early.
The time is now and many doctors are already jumping on this bandwagon. Some medical groups use technology to allow patients to schedule appointments and review lab results. Still others offer unlimited e-mail services for patients to contact their physician for consultation via e-mail for a small fee. With telemedicine, doctors can answer questions, diagnose and prescribe medications to patients for minor or routine conditions, like colds, coughs, urinary tract infections, etc. If a patient were to need a second or third opinion, they could email their MRIs or x-rays to the doctor and chat about the condition. The benefits of telemedicine are endless, but savings could total $700 billion over the next 15-20 years and in this time of major healthcare reform, it's worth consideration by any medical practice, regardless of size.
Aurora Information Technology