Telehealth has finally come into its own thanks to coronavirus fallout. Despite the virus and the disease that it causes being so bad, their introduction has forced the healthcare industry to finally start moving toward modern technology. That brings us to telehealth videoconferencing. It is a good technology, but it is still limited.
To many clinicians, videoconferencing is the be-all and end-all of telemedicine. Discovering just how limited videoconferencing is can easily turn a clinician off. We want clinicians to know that there is more to telemedicine than video calls. We have gone the extra step of adding diagnostic tools and a cloud environment that fully integrates with provider EHR and billing systems.
While you think about that, take a moment to consider the limits of telehealth videoconferencing:
Lack of Diagnostic Testing
It is absolutely true that video calls allow healthcare providers to see and talk with their patients in real time. Either party can ask questions. The clinician can evaluate a patient’s condition based on complaints, symptoms, etc. But when all is said and done, videoconferencing lacks diagnostic tools.
You cannot measure a patient’s blood pressure or heart rate over a video call. You cannot test glucose levels. Videoconferencing is limited to having conversations. That is not good enough when diagnostics are required.
Body Language Isn’t as Evident
During the early stages of the pandemic, researchers were curious to know why video calls are so fatiguing. They discovered that it is much harder for people in video calls to pick up on cues related to facial expressions and body language. Thus, the brain has to work harder to make sense of video call conversations.
The same limits apply to telemedicine. Simply put, it is more difficult for clinicians to evaluate body language and facial expressions over video calls. This inherent limit can make diagnosis and prognosis more challenging.
Lack of Database Integration
Video calls make it possible for clinicians to interact with patients even when patients cannot get into the office. That much is undeniable. But video calls are not integrated with office databases. Nurses and doctors still have to enter data manually, which may not be such an easy task when trying to pay attention to what’s happening on the screen.
Clinicians may have to concentrate so much on their video calls that they struggle to enter data in real time. This increases the risk of making data entry errors or, in the case of waiting until later to enter data, leaving out vital information.
Diagnostic Screening Is Necessary
Video calls represent another tool clinicians can use to care for patients. But they do not take the place of diagnostic screening. Therefore, investing in a telemedicine solution of any kind, be it a kiosk or a remote clinic, means investing in a solution with diagnostic capabilities.
The good news is that the technology already exists. We have put it to use in designing our healthcare telemedicine solutions. Our products include most of the basic diagnostic testing equipment clinicians already have in their offices. Furthermore, our system fully integrates with clinician computer systems by way of our online portal. Data is sent from telemedicine kiosks to clinician computer systems in real time. That way, information is always up to date.
Telemedicine is the future. If you want to get in on the ground floor of that future, consider going above and beyond mere video calls. Videoconferencing is a good telehealth tool, but it only goes so far. Providing the best quality of care in a telemedicine scenario requires having access to diagnostic health screening. You don’t get that with video calls.