Mind and Body

Telehealth may revolutionize the way we see the doctor

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In 2019, only 11% of Americans said they used telemedicine.

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Then the Covid-19 pandemic swept over the globe and the percentage of Americans making virtual medical appointments has jumped to 46%.

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In an age where close contact can spread a life-threatening virus, Americans have latched onto the promise of their ailments being diagnosed over video chat (or via online questionnaire).

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Some doctors, however, aren’t so sure yet.

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Some benefits of telehealth are clear: The practice can provide quick services to many patients who suffer from straight-forward medical issues like a UTI.

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Engaging online cuts down on the frustrating wait times to get a medical appointment and the sometimes hour-long wait for the appointment to even start.

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Telehealth also brings care to people who live in more rural areas, where it might be overly burdensome to access a medical facility.

But some doctors worry about some telehealth efforts, like direct-to-consumer startups, which aren’t closely regulated.

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There’s also a concern about ailments that need a physical exam to confirm, like certain testicular conditions.

In the end, a combined approach might be the way to go, urologist Ranjith Ramasamy told Inverse. "This whole approach of saying, 'Everything is malpractice with telehealth or I have to see all patients in person' is incorrect.”

Ranjith Ramasamy

"But I also think saying, 'We don't need to see anybody in person. We can do everything in men's health with telehealth' is incorrect. A combined approach is probably what's going to win at the end,” Ramasamy says.

Read a deeper dive into telehealth here.

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