Medical care could look like something out of a sci-fi film like Star Trek.
Typically, people call to make an appointment or visit a walk-in clinic, drive down to see the doctor and wait for an hour or two in a waiting room. That has been the standard practice for as long as we can remember. As technology emerges and reshapes all industries, this could take a sharp turn in the near future. There is already evidence of this with Telehealth clinics where there is no doctor present in the facility and only a nurse to aid the Doctor via two-way communication screens. There are clinics like this popping up everywhere, and there are probably some already in a town or city near you.
The next step in this advancement may be live appointments using a mobile phone or tablet from anywhere. They may be instantaneous, or you may have to prebook a virtual appointment. This, of course, won’t work with emergency situations or where a Doctor or nurse will need to assess you to make a diagnosis, but it will be useful for routine check-ups and more basic assessments. It’s also possible that health devices could work in tandem with this system. These may include blood pressure or heart rate, monitors, blood sugar monitoring devices and more.
The millennial generation is quite open to technology, so this might be the avenue for them to visit the doctors more often. You have to admit it would be very convenient and save a tremendous amount of time and since it is so convenient, we may also opt in to see the doctor more often. Not only would this be a game changer it could open us up to specialists around the world for greater health care options and other points of view not readily available to us.
Employers would love this because staff members could see a Doctor while on lunch or break rather than taking the entire day off. People who work often push Doctor visits aside even though they need to see one because it’s hard to get the time off. This could help us be healthier overall. Doctors could order blood work based on the virtual assessment and then revisit in a follow-up appointment when the results come in to discuss the next steps.
What would this look like? How will it work?
Simply log into a secure app and book your appointment. List or check off sections to help the system measure the severity of your needs and after all points are measured it will let you know if your eligible or not for the virtual appointment. This is where artificial intelligence would come into play to make this assessment. Depending on availability, you may be connected instantly, or you may have to wait a set amount of hours. You would be notified with a reminder before the appointment starts, then you’ll be able to interact with each other, much like a Skype call. Your physician will ask you questions. If your health condition is visible like a rash, they may ask to see it on screen and may prescribe you medications, order blood work or book you in with a specialist.
As this becomes more mainstream, the pharmacies and blood labs will also adopt new technologies that will assist this new way to conduct virtual visits that make their services integrated as well. Your virtual Physician would also be able to determine during a virtual visit whether you may need extra care so local clinics and emergency rooms could also be equipped with seamless technological integrations to make sure you are cared for in a timely manner and they know you are on the way with some data already handy from the virtual Physician and a spot or bed set aside for your arrival.
Virtual visits can free up waiting rooms in clinics, pharmacies, doctor’s offices, and emergency rooms and efficiently handle all the minor aches and health concerns. This approach could ultimately save more lives and free up time for everyone.