Jack Plotkin says telehealth has come a long way over the years and recently began declining after being introduced over 50 years ago but, with the advent of technological innovation, it seems poised to make a comeback. Back in the old days, they would perform these procedures over the phone and the patients would answer numerous yes/no questions over the course of a half-hour. The problem with this method, however, is the fact that the doctors would be unable to properly diagnose their illness due to lack of access to medical testing. Without their physical presence, they couldn’t run any tests on them. In recent years, however, it has become a bit easier to perform telehealth due to wireless activity monitors which can track your vitals and send them to your doctor.
Even so, another obstacle that remains is the fact that these telehealth systems do not have access to their patient’s medical records which can often make it more difficult to diagnose whatever illness the patient may have. Additionally, many nursing facilities that deal with telehealth patients also find themselves lacking in the area of electronic medical records. Of course, they are currently working on a platform which seeks to rectify this matter. It’s known as Virtual Health and it seeks to integrate telehealth data with all the information needed for doctors to make a proper diagnosis for their patients as it provides you with updates in real-time. Even if this new platform proves to be a success, however, there is one last thing preventing this new system from becoming commonplace and that is simply the cost of it. Currently, this type of procedure is not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Additionally, the costs of telehealth are not exactly cheap for most people. Of course, there was also a time when personal automobiles were only available to the top 1% so it seems as if it’s only a matter of time before telehealth becomes the new norm when making an appointment for your annual physical. As Jack Plotkin points out, it will soon become the standard.