Concierge telemedicine has emerged as a way for the health care industry to capitalize on specialized initiatives that use advanced medical devices. Telemedical technology allows health care professionals and doctors to treat, diagnose and monitor patients from remote locations using connected devices.
High-end concierge telemedicine practices combine with medical institutions to try to find a balance between technological devices and personalized care. Often, telemedicine relies too heavily on technology and focuses too little on doctors maintaining relationships with patients. Remote devices aid doctors in diagnosing medical maladies, but these nifty bits of technology should not be the first line of care.
The doctor-patient relationship, or "peopleware," remains the most important factor with respect to concierge telemedicine, with doctors and health care groups attempting to balance medical technology with distant people. Many handy medical devices have been created to service telemedical needs, yet companies and doctors cannot focus too much on these technological wonders. Having instant access to a patient's vital signs is great, but there still needs to be a human touch present in a patient's overall care strategy. Trust, compassion and relationships cannot be built through wires, hard drives and communication links.
Telemedicine should focus on using technology to supplement care, not replace it. Expensive concierge medicine charges patients a subscription fee to have access to services and practitioners. High-end, primary-care practices can charge patients for needs required monthly or yearly. As with insurance companies, not everyone needs a doctor's care all of the time. That way, doctor's offices can capitalize on times when people do not need care.
Extra money and higher charges can go towards remote devices developed by large medical companies. Private-practice physicians who specialize in concierge telemedicine, have vested interests in better technology that helps them diagnose what is going on from a distance. Access to technology represents one of the keystones of telemedicine.
Companies face legal issues with licensure, standards of care and privacy concerns. States regulate medical care, so telemedical companies get around this by having networks of physicians in many states to route phone calls from patients. Patients seen through video cameras on computers cannot be treated with less diligence than a patient that comes to the office. HIPAA standards must be maintained through wireless networks and speaking through telecommunications devices to ensure patient privacy.
Remote devices used in medical care marks one industry trend for health care providers. Companies, including those that specialize in concierge telemedicine, are expected to spend up to $295 million for remote patient monitoring in 2015. Combine this trend with billions of dollars spent on electronic health records, and doctors have instant, nearly continuous, access to patient data. High-end companies that need specialized devices are the vanguards of new, remote telemedicine applications. Once these devices get tested with higher-end care and become more cost-effective, manufacturers and providers can make them mainstream.
Concierge telemedicine provides a proving ground for new technology and new ways of serving patients. As this technology improves, everyday patients are likely to see this emerging technology in everyday use.
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