What is Virtual Medicine?
Telemedicine involves primary care physicians and family practice doctors, along with various specialists, providing medical care and health services to patients via telephone or online video conferencing (think Skype). Diagnosis and treatment is done remotely — no office visit, no waiting time, no getting dressed up and driving to see the doctor.
Here is the definition of “telemedicine” from the American Telemedicine Association:
Formally defined, telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.
Arguments for Telemedicine
1. Better Medical Care
Sounds great, right? Proponents of telemedicine are excited about its possibilities in treatment. Particularly for folk who live in rural Indiana or Illinois, telemedicine can be argued to bring them not only health care more often since it’s easier to have a doctor visit via telemedicine than a traditional visit but to bring the opportunity for a higher level of medical care and faster access to specialists, as needed.
2. Helps Attract New Business to Indiana
From a business perspective, telemedicine seems like a great idea, too. Right now, business folk point to the problem of insufficient medical care being providing in the State of Indiana. According to the last census, 66 of Indiana’s 92 counties were designated as not having sufficient health care for Hoosiers living there.
Those looking to bring new industry and business to our part of the country see telemedicine as the solution to this problem. By implementing telemedicine throughout the State of Indiana as a standard and accepted way for Hoosiers to see their doctors for medical care, companies that are considering opening up shop in our state would not have the concern about having doctors for their employees that they might have if they looked only at the last census study.
Virtual Medicine is Our Future: What About Doctor Liability?
Virtual medicine is a huge trend across the country. We should plan now for the impact that telemedicine is going to have on our communities and our lives, both good and bad.
There are problems to be solved with virtual medicine. These include:
1. How to regulate telemedicine
2. How to allow doctors to practice across state lines when they are not licensed to practice in more than one state
3. How insurance would cover these virtual visits
4. Doctors who think that virtual medicine is wrong, for various reasons.
Nevertheless, telemedicine is moving forward and it’s being implemented pretty fast in Indiana.