How Telemedicine Is Transforming Medical Certificates Online

Telemedicine allows patients, nurse practitioners, and doctors to deliver virtual care to patients and fill other vital roles in healthcare without having to meet with their patients physically.  

A study of one hundred nurses conducted by the National Insititute of Health in the United States found that a telemedicine system that allowed patients to self-assess their vitals reduced hospital-based nurses’ workload. It effectively reduced the infection risk in hospitals, according to 79% of respondents, and 74.3% said that using a telemedicine system made them feel a sense of relief.

Telemedicine systems were beneficial during the Coronavirus pandemic as they allowed doctors to write prescriptions and pharmacies to fill them virtually and let nurse practitioners see patients via web portals and video conferences. Additionally, documentation like medical certificates could be easily obtained online after a virtual healthcare professional consultation.

Telemedicine is a tool that’s growing in usage worldwide and will continue to do as our technologically-interconnected nature as human beings continues to grow.

Understanding telemedicine and its advantages

Telemedicine is a virtual delivery system for healthcare with myriad real-world applications. It began at the University of Nebraska in 1959 when two-way televisions were first used to allow doctors and patients to have a virtual consultation. 

Although previously, you could call your doctor’s office, having the ability to have a virtual examination of physical symptoms proved critical in helping patients without access to healthcare due to their location or their socio-economic status.

Modern telemedicine applications include ‘virtual visits’ where instead of going to the hospital’s emergency department, telemedicine can give doctors, nurses, and patients a virtual platform to connect via video conferencing. 

This significantly reduces the strain on emergency departments by allowing healthcare professionals to listen to patient concerns, visually inspect any injuries and prescribe medicine if necessary, or recommend a visit to the ER. This cuts down on ER volumes significantly. 

Telemedicine isn’t just virtual, its applications span the breadth of human health from telepsychotherapy, that is, virtual therapy appointments, sending images of patient injuries (x-rays, photography, other imaging) digitally, virtually sending prescriptions and the sharing of patient information across a broad network, like the large-scale telemedicine network in Brazil.

The role of telemedicine in issuing medical certificates

Telemedicine is commonly used to issue medical certificates by doctors, most commonly called ‘sick notes.’ Doctors and nurse practitioners can write, email, or fax a sick note to a patient or directly to a patient’s employer.

This method saves time and energy by bypassing the traditional doctor’s office visits and hand-written notes that can sometimes become lost or damaged. Emails and other notices are often safer and more legible when drafted by technology and can include the doctor’s letterhead and virtual signature.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, telemedicine helped doctors and patients to connect. It gave doctors the tools to issue a medical certificate for absence due to flu-related illnesses without seeing the patient. This proved critical to maintaining the security of the healthcare infrastructure at a time of unprecedented stress.

Benefits of online medical certificates

Alongside the convenience factor, there are myriad other benefits of obtaining medical certificates online.

  • A reduction in patients visiting the ER to obtain diagnoses and sick notes based on those diagnoses.  
  • A reduction in the need for visits to the doctor’s office to obtain medical certificates. 
  • A reduction in the use of stationery like paper and ink and energy to write, print and sign medical certificates. 

One of the critical changes online medical certificates have made to the healthcare delivery landscape is their ability to be delivered virtually to patients living in remote areas – with no hospitals and few or no doctor’s offices. The ability to receive medical information virtually has significantly reduced the gap between those without access to healthcare. 

Advanced telemedicine platforms and usage 

Telemedicine platforms have come a long way since their inception in 1959. Today, telemedicine platforms can do so much more than just virtual patient consultation. 

In a hospital setting, telemedicine platforms can store patient information, ‘speak’ with other telemedicine platforms over a secure network, allow doctors and nurses to view patient information, and dispatch medical orders within seconds.

Telemedicine adoption has proven critical to changing healthcare infrastructure, as healthcare professionals and patients struggle to balance care delivery and system overload. Telemedicine has bridged the gap between underserved communities and patients and their access to quality healthcare.

Embracing the convenience and efficiency of obtaining documents like medical certificates online will allow patients to receive the necessary documentation faster and make doctors more efficient with their own time. Additionally, embracing a telemedicine scheme more broadly will enable healthcare to serve all patients better, regardless of location or socio-economic status. 

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