Telemedicine and telehealth continue to grow in popularity and are the subjects of recent legislation in New York and Texas, both of which acted to make remote medical services easier to provide. Better suited to some practices and specialties than others, though, telemedicine is best planned along with considerations including conditions to be treated and the nature of the practice.
In this second part of a series of posts on telehealth and telemedicine, read on to find out about which specialists might consider adopting some telemedicine options in their practice. Click here to read the first post in this series, on how to get started in telemedicine.
Top Telemed Specialties
Given that telemedicine is easier to provide when fewer physical exams are required, and images or patient communication is key, the following specialties are particularly amenable to the telehealth services:
Radiology: Radiologists were some of the first to use telemedicine. Radiologists can easily receive images, analyze them, and provide feedback and advice to the patient’s primary physician.
Psychiatry: With a dearth of practicing psychiatrists, particularly in rural communities, psychiatry is well-suited for telemedicine. Since it requires fewer physical exams and is based on communicating effectively with patients, psychiatry is better suited for telemedicine than many other specialties.
Dermatology: Like radiologists, dermatologists can use telemedicine to remotely examine and diagnose patients’ images. And like psychiatrists, dermatologists often struggle to keep up with patient demand for their services, so telemedicine provides a great opportunity for dermatologists to expand their practices without necessarily enlarging their office footprints.
PCPs Expand Their Care
Physicians across practice areas are constantly finding new ways to utilize telemedicine, and specialists can also consider teaming up with primary care doctors to offer such services.
In a recent survey by Becker’s Health IT & CIO Review, primary care physicians identified the telemedicine consults that were most valuable to their practice. In order of importance, these specialties are:
- Infectious disease
- Pain management
- Sports medicine
As just one example of telemedicine in action, over 40 medical groups under Kaiser Permanente offer – at the primary care site – instant consultations with specialists, according to Dr. Robert M. Pearl, former leader of the Permanente Medical Group (the largest medical group in the country), and the Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group.
If you think your practice or specialty is well-suited to offer telemedicine to your patients, now is the time to start exploring your options. Next week, we’ll take a look at some of pros and cons of telemedicine in order to help you plan your next move.