In every country around the world there is a critical shortage of doctors and nurses everywhere. If you live in a rural area, you are probably especially hard hit. Fortunately, telemedicine is an innovative way to address this critical shortage of doctors in rural areas.
There is one common denominator to the best solutions and that would be an internet connection. Doctors who offer services online need to ensure that they have reliable web hosting like that offered by bestwebhosting.co.uk to ensure their site is up and patients can find the information they need from those remote locations. Let’s review a few solutions to that critical shortage.
Addressing the Problem at the Root
The first thing to be addressed is in understanding why there is such a shortage in the first place. There doesn’t seem to be any one answer as to why there are not enough doctors and nurses to go around but a great percentage of industry analysts believe it is a combination of the cost of an education in terms of the length of time it takes to become licensed.
Added to that, salaries aren’t proportionate to the cost of that education and the length of time without an income. Perhaps governments should cover educational costs to entice more young men and women to enter the profession.
Mobile Clinics Are Insufficient at Best
In days gone by, mobile clinics were able to offer a bit of relief to rural communities that weren’t served by a doctor, clinic or nearby hospital. These would go around in vans with mobile equipment that could do a bit of screening, but nothing very deep. Mobile clinics would vaccinate children, do a quick physical exam and prescribe any medications needed on an ongoing basis such as insulin for diabetics and blood pressure meds for heart patients.
However, for acute diseases like pneumonia and influenza, it isn’t possible to hold off getting ill until the mobile clinic was due to roll through town, so many people were left without medical attention during seasonal outbreaks.
Wearables, Apps, and Smartphones Help a Little
While still insufficient in cases of acute illnesses, wearables that communicate with your doctor via an app on your smartphone can help you monitor your own health. Unfortunately, while wearables are great for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes that need to be monitored 24/7, these do little for a common cold, flu, or other bugs that require being seen by a doctor for a diagnosis and possible medication.
Telemedicine Is on the Rise
The latest technology that is proving to be extremely beneficial in bringing healthcare to remote, rural regions is called telemedicine. This is sort of like a video chat in which patients speak face-to-face (over a virtual connection that is!) with a doctor who is in his or her office on the other end of a teleconference. The doctor can see you, talk to you, check your vitals as you take them yourself and then call in a prescription to your local pharmacy if needed.
If further labs are needed, the doctor will ask you to visit a hospital you can reach by car. Some areas of the globe are so remote that only the sickest of patients are referred to hospital. In any case, telemedicine is one way to reach a huge number of people who don’t have access to a provider but need to be seen. It isn’t a perfect solution which would obviously be to train up more doctors, but telemedicine is the best innovation yet to bring doctors to areas that are currently under-served.