Telemedicine as a Career choice for Specialists
What is Telemedicine and its purposes
Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth that refers solely to the provision of health care services and education over a distance, through the use of telecommunications technology. Telemedicine involves the use of electronic communications and software to provide clinical services to patients without an in-person visit.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive acceleration in the use of telemedicine. The ability to access healthcare facilities remotely for health management purposes with the use of digital information and communication technologies is driving its growth when people are unable to make physical visits to the doctor.
Telemedicine technology is frequently used for follow-up visits, management of chronic conditions, medication management, and specialist consultation. It facilitates people with primary healthcare services remotely through video conferencing, remote monitoring, wireless communication and electronic consultations.
How to start a Telemedicine Practice
As time has progressed, internet coverage and consumer smartphone use have increased and that has eventually made the ecosystem better and more accessible for both service providers and customers. This has enabled more businesses to roll out smartphone-specific offerings and create a lucrative market for themselves.
As patient interest and demand for telemedicine increases, providers are following suit. The COVID-19 pandemic has made telehealth more relevant than ever, with online appointments becoming a necessity in light of social distancing measures and limited provider resources.
Before starting a telemedicine practice, the following steps can be considered:
1. Consider which style of telemedicine works for providers and patients.
2. Determine the outline of practice like direct-to-consumer or hub-and-spoke telemedicine services.
3. Decide how telemedicine will be used in practice, as a triage or a followup session.
4. Need to calculate if it’s worth getting licensed in multiple states, since each state and/or country may have their own regulatory structures.
5. Need to do research about state laws regarding telemedicine coverage to their citizens
6. Understand how payment works, including medical insurance parity laws and opportunities for out of pocket access
7. Need to promote telemedicine offering to patients using appropriate social media or digital marketing channels
Is Telemedicine a Good Career Choice for You?
Access to telecommunication services has grown significantly too over time. This has made providing service over phones more convenient and easier. This practice has reduced costs and time and has saved lives as well. As a result, the global telemedicine market has been growing rapidly for the past few years and promises future growth according to multiple industry estimates with an estimated CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of about 15.1% up to 2027.
A separate study compiled by Market Study Report, LLC, projects global telehealth will be a nearly $17 billion industry by 2025.
With increased coverage and customer base, there is ample opportunity for telemedicine services to excel in the current business environment. Therefore, talking about a career in telemedicine, it has a great scope in the present, as well as post-Covid time.
Practicing telemedicine is nothing different than practicing traditional medicine. The service providers need to be comfortable and equipped with basic technology, taking video calls and interacting with patients virtually. The physicians can treat non-emergency health conditions like chronic diseases, flu or ear infections, pain, provide mental health counselling, monitor prescription medications, or work in fields like obstetrics and gynecology.
Fundamentally, telehealth providers need to be comfortable with basic technology, taking calls and interacting with patients over a computer, and asking patient questions that can help diagnose without a physical examination. Also, one needs to have good communication skills are key to a successful career in telemedicine.
Considering the lifestyle benefits, flexibility, availability and accessibility telemedicine provides to people, its future is bright. No special training is needed to become a telemedicine physician and telehealth companies provide training on how to use their technology if required. Further, when combined with advanced technologies, telemedicine can increase the productivity of all the stakeholders involved in patient care.
Ready to open your own Virtual Practice?
1. Lauren Cranford. Telemedicine vs. Telehealth: What’s the Difference? CHIRON 2020. Available at https://chironhealth.com/blog/telemedicine-vs-telehealth-whats-the-difference/
2. Ayush Mishra. Career in telemedicine: A perfect option for students to future proof job post Covid-19. India Today 2020. Available at https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/jobs-and-careers/story/career-in-telemedicine-a-perfect-option-for-students-to-future-proof-job-post-covid-19-1702423-2020-07-20
3. An Important Healthcare Delivery Resource. CHIRON 2020. https://chironhealth.com/telemedicine/technology/
4. Telemedicine Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report – Grand View Research
5. Christine Moore. 9 Steps to Take When Starting Telemedicine. Healthgrades 2019. Available at https://www.healthgrades.com/explore/9-steps-to-take-when-starting-telemedicine