WHO defines telehealth as a method that uses telecommunications and IT so that the healthcare facilities like health diagnosis, examination, intervention, meetings, and surveillance can be made accessible to the population through digital means. Telehealth uses digital mediums like telephones, electronic mail machines, etc. Teledermatology is a branch of telehealth dealing with issues related to dermatology. Teledermatology is not particularly related to the pharmacy but it helps in spreading the information and knowledge related to dermatology with the help of audio, visual, or both audio-visual aids and data communication. Even though the reach of teledermatology is limited because it has recently been invented, its growth is fast.
Dermatology and Artificial Intelligence
Telehealth has lately been observed to depend a lot on artificial intelligence. To be precise, teledermatology has been commonly using virtual associates and conversational representatives through artificial intelligence. These representatives help in the reduction of errors when the doctors are not available for visits or when the patients face scheduling problems. Also, teledermatology helps in generating automatic interactions between the doctor and the patients and thus making healthcare services easily accessible.
The importance of telehealth during the pandemic
Since the pandemic has resulted in opting for so many different ways to overcome the basic needs of day-to-day lives and one of them is choosing telehealthcare services. Telehealth has made it possible for both the doctors and the patients to take advantage of the health care facilities while maintaining the precautions that are required to be followed during the pandemic. Telehealth does not only help in avoiding the spread of coronavirus but is also convenient when it comes to maximizing the time so that more patients can be dealt with in the limited time available.
An example that explains the application of teledermatology is that the patients can easily upload a picture of high-resolution of their acne or any other skin problem and that can be easily examined by the doctor and the treatment can begin in no time. Hence, teledermatology is also beneficial in saving time.
Everything in the world has certain advantages as well as disadvantages and therefore, Telehealthcare services bring along certain pros and cons as discussed further in the article.
Advantages of teledermatology
- Helps in saving time: It has already been discussed how teledermatology helps in saving time. Through teledermatology, not just the patients and the doctor's time is saved but it saves the time of the entire team.
- Cost-effective: Relying on teledermatology means saving the money that would otherwise have been spent on traveling.
- Offers detailed information regarding dermatology: Dermatologists can upload detailed information on their websites and hence can spread knowledge by not even engaging in explaining the issue.
- Expansion of reach: It helps the patients living far from the facilities to reach the healthcare services.
- Emergency: In case of emergencies, where the patient can not afford any extra time. Telehealth helps save life as time otherwise spent on traveling can be saved and the treatment can begin on time.
Disadvantages of teledermatology
- Varied regulations: The regulations under telehealthcare services vary from place to place. Also, it is remarkably tough to determine whether the service providers are taking care of the precautions required for the patients along with them.
- Lack of physical examinations: Even though telehealthcare services are convenient to reach, sometimes determining the problem can not solely be dependent on video conferencing alone.
- There is not enough equipment and technologies available for telehealthcare services: For telehealthcare services to be effective there is a definite requirement for advanced equipment and technology. But these can be too expensive for the service providers to afford, especially because telemedicine is a newly growing field.
- Connection issues: Apparently, the entire telehealth system is dependent on good connections, and hence, just a single day of poor connections can delay the appointments resulting in workload and a waste of time.
- Errors: Due to the poor quality of images reports like X-rays, MRIs, etc. can not be accurately examined and hence resulting in errors in the overall treatment.
The disadvantages of telehealthcare services can be examined and if necessary actions will be taken at the desired time then it is possible to avoid the cons of telehealthcare services. Despite the disadvantages of telehealthcare services, the advantages can not be avoided. Hence, there are plenty of reasons to rely on telehealthcare services as discussed in the above article.
Telehealthcare has proven to be very crucial especially during the times when reaching up to physical healthcare services was not an option available for the treatment of even critical illnesses. Not only this but telehealthcare services are time and cost-efficient. Thus, making telehealthcare services even more convenient to rely on.