Telemedicine is a remarkable way to take care of basic medical appointments. Medical facilities, from hospitals to private primary care providers, are increasingly using telemedicine to offer more patients a higher level of care than ever before.
While artificial intelligence is still a relatively new technology in the medical field, it is starting to be studied and even used for some basic tasks. Even low-level use of AI is incredibly helpful considering the major shortage of primary care providers in North America.
Here are the advantages of telemedicine and AI in the modern age.
It is far less expensive to conduct a telemedicine appointment than an in-office visit. For starters, there is no preparing and cleaning a room between patients. It is also less expensive for patients because they do not have to pay for transportation and can often avoid taking time off from work for basic medical care.
It helps reduce the effect of primary care doctor shortages
Nurse practitioners can take care of many basic appointments and checkups via telemedicine, freeing MDs and DOs for more serious appointments. This helps people receive the care they need without waiting excessive time to be seen.
With such a shortage of primary care providers, anything that can be done to reduce the patient load or make the process more efficient is something to consider.
Telemedicine diagnoses basic problems such as the common cold, flu, urinary tract infections, infections from lacerations and other skin injuries, and more. Patients also use telemedicine for check-ins so they can renew prescriptions. Since so many appointments are for these basic tasks, it is easy to see how telemedicine can save a lot of nurse practitioner and doctor time as well as the time of the patient.
Telemedicine also gives patients the convenience of not having to spend time commuting for basic medical care that can be conducted over a smartphone or tablet via video conferencing.
AI can be used to make diagnoses faster
While some may be hesitant to trust artificial intelligence, the truth is that it can do a great job of helping speed up telemedicine exams. Since AI is more cost-effective than a real person, it can reduce healthcare visits and free up nurses and doctors to take care of the tasks where their skills and knowledge are most needed.
AI can be used for screening questionnaires and asking patients diagnostic questions that the nurse or doctor can use to make a formal diagnosis. This also speeds up appointments so patients can get on with their daily lives.
AI is not a replacement for doctors or nurses
There is a stigma based on the belief that AI will ultimately be used to replace doctors and nurses. This is not true. It is important to reassure patients that their diagnoses and care will always be undertaken by a licensed medical professional. There are no telehealth visits conducted with just AI. Ensuring patients understand that AI is a tool to use and nothing more will make them more comfortable trying out telehealth for their healthcare needs.
Patients will eventually learn to trust AI to get them through basic questions and even help with prescription refills. Over time, they will see that the technology saves them time and reduces frustration.
AI can be used for remote patient monitoring and medicine adjustments
Steps are being taken to make it possible for patients to be monitored remotely with fewer check-ins. Some studies show that AI can be used to accurately adjust medication dosages remotely. This could be a real game-changer for those with conditions such as insulin-dependent diabetes.
This is a technology that shows a lot of promise, but it will take some time before it is widely trusted and used in the medical community.
Telemedicine can reduce the transmission of illness and disease during outbreaks
Some patients are more vulnerable to illness than others. COVID-19 is a good example of a time when a lot of patients benefitted from being able to get healthcare from afar. Telehealth freed up time for doctors and nurses to treat the most seriously ill patients while keeping those at high risk of complications at home whenever possible.
Telemedicine allows for healthcare outreach during times of high levels of disease. For example, a patient experiencing mild symptoms can be monitored at home rather than coming into an office.
Future nurse practitioners will use telehealth more often than in the past
There is currently a strong demand for nurse practitioners. Rockhurst University offers an excellent FNP post-master’s program for nurses who already hold an MSN degree. This is a great way to enhance your career and become an FNP in just four semesters. Classes are completely online, and Rockhurst offers clinical placement services for all students. Students will learn how to utilize telehealth in their practice and what AI can offer them when it comes to offering a high level of care to a maximum number of patients.
AI will become more cost-effective
Some AI is less costly than others, but it is still a significant investment for any medical practice. Over time, the use of AI-based medical care will increase, meaning costs will eventually come down. This is why it is important that future nurses and healthcare workers become used to the idea of using it sooner rather than later.
Telemedicine has established itself in modern medicine. Over the next few years, more people will rely on telemedicine for basic check-ins, prescription refills, and more. Telemedicine will undoubtedly help reduce the cost of healthcare for everyone and increase the efficiency of medical offices.
Artificial intelligence will prove to be helpful across a broad range of medical applications, including remote monitoring and helping to ensure that patients receive the correct dosage of medications at all times.
AI will be used where appropriate, and more people will realize that while it offers great benefits, it will never totally replace their nurse or doctor.