Technology is changing the healthcare industry greatly. This moves beyond electronic medical records and electronic prescriptions. Today, telemedicine is making a huge impact on patient care and physical exams.
If you’re concerned that video-based medical visits are inadequate in diagnosis and treatment, Telemedicine Magazine outlines how through video conferencing doctors can determine skin tone, speech clarity, rate of breathing, paleness, and more. Patients can also follow instructions during a video call such as moving their joints or trying to see if they have pain in a particular region. As such, physical examinations via video can be very useful.
“They can take their own pulse while we time them and use their own thermometers to assess for fever,” wrote Dr. Aditi Joshi and Dr. Judd E. Hollander in Telemedicine Magazine. “Family members can also be recruited: we’ve used them to examine an abdomen and assess for tenderness under our instructions. We have diagnosed biliary colic and appendicitis in this manner. Not only does this add valuable information to the physical examination, it aids the patient in being an active part of their healthcare.”
The company American Well announced one year ago its partnership with the telemedicine company Tyto Care. This involves patient visits via video as well as medical examinations conducted using telemedicine.
This means that doctors and other healthcare providers can listen to their patients and treat them all in the comfort of a patient’s home. The partnership moves beyond merely video conferencing with patients by allowing the patients themselves to capture physical exam information from their home, school, or place of employment.
The company Tyto Care has a stethoscope, built-in thermometer, tongue depressor, otoscope, and a camera for taking video and photographs. This shows how the telehealth company goes much further than merely using the typical video conferencing technology. Using these attachments, the doctor or healthcare provider can determine the health of the patient and check the lungs, heart, ears, nose, throat, and stomach.
Most patients know how to use a thermometer, but the other attachments may be more complicated. This is why built-in guidance technology can be used to precisely measure medical data during a remote physical exam.
Essentially, the technology tells the patient where to position the attachment on their body and how to accurately record the sounds in their heart and lungs. This will help both patients and doctors feel confident in the accuracy of the medical results.
Tyto Care essentially brings comprehensive physical exams to the world of telemedicine. The exams can be completed before, during, or after the telehealth visit. The company provides a “Live Telehealth Exam” feature so that physicians can complete a physical exam in real time.
Patients can also use the technology to take their medical data and send it to their doctor before their telemedicine visit. During the visit itself, the doctor is more prepared to diagnose the patient.
There are various types of physical ailments that can be diagnosed from the comfort of a patient’s home. For example, bronchitis and respiratory infections can be diagnosed using the stethoscope attachment to look at a patient’s lungs.
Using the otoscope to check the passageways of the ears, the patient can send images to their doctor and also use a thermometer to check whether they have a fever or not. This can help the physician diagnose a sinus infection.
If a patient has the flu, there are many ways a doctor can diagnose this during a video visit. The stethoscope can be used to listen to the heart and lungs while the tongue depressor and camera is used to look inside the throat. The thermometer can be used to determine if a patient has a fever. These attachments can be a great addition for diagnosing the flu.
If a patient has a sore throat, the doctor will need to figure out what is causing the sore throat. The tongue depressor and camera can be used to capture images of the throat to help a doctor accurately diagnose the health problem during a telemedicine visit.
Telemedicine can also help a physician uncover an ear infection. The attached otoscope can help a doctor examine the ear canal while the thermometer can be used to check if the patient has a fever. These actions can help with diagnosing ear infections.
Other types of illnesses that can be diagnosed using these attachments and video-based telemedicine visits include pink eye, contact dermatitis, whooping cough, eczema, and pneumonia.
In fact, patients with chronic medical conditions such as allergies or asthma can benefit through telemedicine by allowing a simple way for doctors to keep track of an illness remotely. Even patients who have undergone surgery can benefit from telemedicine since physicians can help with wound care and follow-up via video visits.
There are clear ways that telemedicine can be used to benefit patients during a physical exam. This field is likely to grow and expand in the coming years.