Just like how modern technology is well integrated in the business and education industries, the field of healthcare has also been steadily incorporating digital technology to improve the well-being of patients on a global scale. In our past AVer Experts, we have introduced the concept of telemedicine and how medical grade cameras can help improve patient care in various healthcare situations. Today, we will take a step in a different direction and look at the utilization of technology in healthcare on a broader scale called “telehealth”, or more specifically, the use of telehealth in physician training via medical grade cameras. But before we get into the details of why and how, let’s first understand the difference between the two commonly used healthcare terms.
Although telemedicine and telehealth both emphasize on making communication and collaboration easier in healthcare settings, there is a distinct difference between the two. According to the International Organization of Standardization, telemedicine is defined as the “use of technologies to exchange health information and provide health care services across geographic, time, social and cultural barriers”, while telehealth is the ‘use of technologies for the purpose of providing telemedicine, medical education, and health education over a distance’. Based on these definitions, we can see that the former focuses on the practice of medicine using technology to deliver remote care while the latter uses technology on a broader scale for remote healthcare services that goes beyond the doctor-patient relationship. This means unlike telemedicine, telehealth can also refer to remote non-clinical services such as education/physician training and health promotion.
Why Do We Need Telehealth for Physician Training?
So now that we understand the difference between telehealth and telemedicine, let’s move on to the main discussion of the day: physician training via telehealth. As technology becomes more affordable and accessible around the world, telehealth is gaining attention as the next potential solution to the healthcare industry, including the use of digital technology to deliver medical education and physician training. In fact, when COVID-19 first rattled the world, many physician trainings and residency programs were shifted to telehealth due to social distancing measures (much like how clinical care transitioned to telemedicine). Furthermore, some medical students were either pulled from their programs or had their internships put on halt, disrupting not only their education, but also limiting their academic opportunities.
However, this absence of in-person teaching also allowed a unique time for telehealth usage to surge, resulting in an increased of 38X higher than before the pandemic. What’s more is that the pandemic has also redefined what and how care is delivered, prompting universities and clinics to consider offering programs and curriculums that can help future-physicians prepare for remote healthcare services. With the demand for telehealth being greater than ever, it is critical that we embrace this digital movement to ensure the future of healthcare is continuously improving.
How Camera Technology Fits into the Picture
With all this talk about the rise of telehealth and its usage in physician training, it is also important to mention one of the most significant factors that contributes to the success of online medical teaching: the camera. While there are other elements that are required for any virtual teaching to work, without the right camera technology in medical education, physician training via telehealth will not succeed. This is because compared to normal online classes, physician training often requires a clear visual demonstration of the medical encounter at hand. Without a good medical grade camera that can provide high-quality images and precise close-up shots of whatever the doctor is looking at, it would be difficult for the remote trainees to learn effectively. By utilizing a medical grade camera, doctors can ensure the trainees experience these medical demonstrations in real-time and provide them with instant feedback to any questions they may have.
While it is true that an ordinary camera can also provide livestreaming and snapshotting capabilities, and therefore be sufficient for simple diagnoses or medical surveillances, this will not be enough for physician training. Unlike professional doctors who have years of experience and knowledge under their belts, residents who are still learning would need more than just a few far away shots of the medical procedure, especially when they are learning virtually for the time being. And as doctors rely heavily on imaging-based diagnoses, it is equally important for physicians-in-training to be able to recognize and be familiar with the visual information given in order to properly diagnose a patient. Hence, it is crucial that good medical grade cameras are utilized in telehealth for physician training to ensure the quality of medical education and performance is not affected despite the ongoing pandemic.
To further understand and explore the possibility of medical grade cameras, head over to the link below.