Technology has improved medical care in so many ways that it would be outright impossible for any medical institution to function at this point in time without those facilities. Unfortunately, a large portion of this available technology isn’t accessible in most rural and remote locations. While it will take a monumental effort and many more years to bring every remote corner of the United States up to date with the latest in medical science, there are ways in which certain services and methods are helping the people living in these underdeveloped parts of the US to get better medical care than was possible before.
When a patient seeks medical help and advice via a telephone call to a medical facility or a medical professional, it is defined as telemedicine. These services have worked very effectively to bring at least some semblance of authentic health advice to remote locations and to patients who do not have the ability to leave their homes unassisted. However, the scope of telemedicine isn’t only limited to patient calls either. In a scenario where an attending nurse or doctor is present in a location which is far away from a medical facility, it isn’t uncommon for the nurse/doctor to resort to telemedicine for getting a second opinion or maybe even go on a video call for better communication. As people in underdeveloped areas are not always able to or can afford to go for in-clinic treatments, telemedicine over video calls are helping them get at least a portion of the medical attention they deserve.
One of the most common issues faced by facilities that operate in rural areas is the lack of traditional on-site scribes and that’s exactly where a virtual scribe comes in. Earlier, when such services were not available, hours upon hours were wasted as medical professionals had no choice but to spend more time on documenting EMRs than caring for the actual patients. With help from state of the art audio-visual technology, the expert virtual scribes are able to document patient interactions accurately in real time. Not only does it allow for better data organization but it also saves time for doctors and other professionals, who can then use that time to better serve their patients.
Is It Enough?
While virtual help cannot always replace real on-site care and attention, it has indeed improved the scenario of healthcare in rural areas significantly. Medical facilities need to grow both in number and stature across the nation to ensure proper and adequate health care, but before that can happen, the likes of virtual scribes and telemedicine are playing a vital role during this intermediary stage.
Even though it is too early to speculate how it can be implemented or when we can expect anything of the sort, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to point out that virtual reality (VR) might hold the key towards unlocking the next stage in terms of providing medical care in remote sections. VR tech is already being developed and used for medical science, but it will still take quite a bit of time to implement it in a way that will benefit those that need it the most. Let’s hope that the time is cut down significantly through technological innovations in the coming years.