Formally defined, telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. Telemedicine initially gained popularity by allowing physician access to patients in rural areas where travel was either difficult or impossible. It is now gaining mainstream popularity for its convenience and efficiency. Telemedicine usage is up 50 percent since 2013 with close to 15 million people using these services in 2015.
The maturation of mobile technology and the increased adaptation of mobile devices by consumers has made telemedicine more of a reality than just a vision. Recent surveys show that more than 68% of adults in the United States own a smartphone or tablet. This removes the main hurdle that for years made a video interaction between a physician and patient so viable.
While telemedicine services are gaining rapid adoption in specialty areas such as dermatology and radiology, there are many platforms launching that offer 24/7 access to a doctor through online video. Most of these platforms have been developed to treat common conditions such as sinus problems, respiratory infection, allergies, urinary tract infection, cold and flu symptoms and many other non-emergency illnesses.
KwikMed will initially be launching physician video consultation services (telemedicine) to replace the current online diagnostic tool being utilized. Eventually the model will include the ability to diagnose and treat many common health conditions as well.
Increased access to healthcare: rural patients can more easily obtain health services and rural hospitals can provide a variety of specialty services.
Improved health outcomes: patients can be treated earlier which can contribute to improved outcomes.
Reduction of healthcare and other associated costs: less visits to hospitals and doctor offices provide savings in transportation and visit costs.
Support of clinical education programs: rural healthcare providers can more easily obtain continuing education and clinicians can more easily consult with specialists.
Assistance in addressing shortage of healthcare providers: specialists and other healthcare providers can serve areas where there is currently a shortage of providers in the physical area.