When people think of 24 hour urgent care, they think of long waits in the emergency room and outrageously high bills as a result. Not every case that is seen in the emergency room constitutes, well, an actual emergency; sometimes, people simply go there because they are in need of a doctor and the only place open to provide care at certain times of night and on certain days of the year are emergency rooms, leaving those who are seeking 24 hour urgent care—or not so urgent care, whatever the case may be—with little to no choice.
With the many technological advances of the 21st century, however, a new branch of the medical field has started to flourish: telemedicine.
Telemedicine might sound like something out of a science fiction television show, but it is very much so real, and an industry that is growing by the year. Indeed, it is estimated that by the year 2020 the telemedicine industry will be worth around $36.2 billion.
So just what is telemedicine exactly? It’s simply the use of telecommunication devices such as computers, smartphones, and tablets to connect patients seeking convenient medical care with trained physicians. This on-demand care, however, is not to be confused with true emergency care; these online doctors are no substitute for in person care in life-threatening situations.
What these virtual doctors, as they are, can do is help you in non-life threatening situations by way of listening to you describe your symptoms and any problems you might be having, making their diagnosis, and appropriately offering treatment for what the problem at hand is.
By offering you convenient medical help from the comfort of your own home, this field is able to save the patient time and money, and help to eliminate unnecessary travel for issues that can be easily resolved without having to make a trip to the office. In addition, patients who need access to a specialist who might be halfway across the country that they might not otherwise be able to see, are able to have consultations with these specialists via telemedicine.
So next time you find yourself seeking out the emergency room, or a 24 hour urgent care service, for anything other than a true, life-threatening emergency, remember the future of telemedicine, and consider whether it might be the right choice for you to look into. After all, one can only resist the way of the future for so long.