The stark reality is that it is impossible to provide high quality healthcare to all Americans.  Offering an affordable solution, 24/7, across the country adds to this challenge.  Now just add the need for highly specialized physicians and you have a very real problem with very real consequences.

Enter Telemedicine, the virtual next step.   It is certainly turning heads in the industry but will it save the day?

At first, I was skeptical, thinking: “People need to make their health a priority” and figure out how to get to a doctor and do whatever’s needed.  But I saw how that thinking falls apart in an example very close to home.

So let’s take a look at the ‘average’ day of one probable sleep apnea patient.  In this case, we’ll call him Dave.

  • He is 45 years old.
  • Works in Philadelphia, but commutes an hour and a half each way every day in order to afford a nice house in a quiet suburb for his family.
  • His wife also works full-time and struggles to meet the demands of their very active three children in his absence during the week.
  • Dave insists on being the first in to work and the last out.  He finds it difficult to take a break, so more often than not, he orders take-out and eats at his desk.  He attributes his noticeable weight gain to this bad diet and lack of exercise.
  • Although she is exhausted, his wife wakes periodically throughout the night to the sound of loud snoring and sometimes she says “It sounds like he just stops breathing altogether, then snorts loudly and starts snoring again.  I usually roll him over.”
  • His only time off is during the weekends where he spends countless hours attending and driving to/from soccer tournaments, recitals and competitions for the kids.
  • Dave is always exhausted.  No matter how much sleep he gets, he never feels fully refreshed and believes he needs to be evaluated for a sleep disorder.

This is a case where telemedicine could change a life.  For Dave, it could actually save one.  Finding time to get to a sleep center to meet with a doctor for evaluation, schedule a sleep study, take a night out of the house to sleep in the lab, then meet again with the doctor to discuss prognosis and treatment options is daunting for him.

What if he had the option to take care of all of it remotely?  What if he could find quality care through the miracle of modern technology?

Of course Dave would jump at the opportunity!

Convenience and quality to satisfy an overburdened population in need of therapy to aid in their sleep issues can only serve to help more patients.

Learn more by visiting the American Telemedicine Association website and speak out with your comments.  Are you thinking about getting into telemedicine?  If not, why not?


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