Care for the Commonwealth: How Telemedicine Helps Lisa Whenever, Wherever

Feb 1, 2019 by AFP

For the past few years, Lisa has experienced a string of medical issues, from food poisoning to surgery. But telemedicine has saved her time and stress, while also improving her health.   

“I would normally experience a lot of stress with being ill or in pain, and then having to get a diagnosis and get treatment,” Lisa said. “But telemedicine has eliminated so much of that stress just from the timeliness and convenience it provides.” 

Telemedicine allows patients to access health care services and clinical information through cell phone apps — which Lisa uses — the internet, telephone and other means of remote communication. So, there’s no need to drive or find transportation to a facility. Telemedicine apps also store medical history and records and keep track of immunizations.  

“They also list my allergies,” Lisa said of the apps, “and they even allow me to message or video chat with a provider. That last one has been the biggest help. I’ve actually taken a photo of an injury from a fall, sent it to a provider through their app, and then gotten a response in hours to let me know that I was healing properly.”  

  • More and more Americans have discovered telemedicine — its usage is growing rapidly. 
  • There are currently some 200 telemedicine networks. 
  •  There are 3,500 telemedicine service sites in the U.S. 
  •  Nearly 1 million Americans are using remote cardiac monitors. 
  •  In 2011, the Veterans Health Administration gave more than 300,000 remote consultations. 
  •  More than half of all hospitals in the U.S. use some form of telemedicine.  

“I’m able to handle medical issues way more quickly than I would if I had to make an appointment, wait in a waiting room, and then see a doctor. I’ve spent less time recovering from illness and injury,” Lisa said, adding that she typically gets her questions answered in one day or less. “But the best benefit for me has been getting near-instant peace of mind.”  

Lisa is just one of many Virginians benefiting from health care innovation.