In today’s culture of constant connection and immediate communication, it is no surprise that the practice of medicine has moved partially to virtual platforms, too. The documentary series Diagnosis on Netflix, based on the New York Times column by Lisa Sanders, follows patients with mysterious illnesses in pursuit of answers. With the endless potential of the internet and social networking at our fingertips, Diagnosis crowdsources ideas from people all over the world. Patients in the series often connect with experts and physicians via email and even video chat. While the series uses these virtual mediums as a way to solve complex and enigmatic health issues, telemedicine is quickly becoming an everyday mainstay in health care.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, many insurance companies have expanded their coverage to include telemedicine visits. Over 9 million Americans covered by Medicaid used telemedicine services during the first few months of the pandemic. Due to the high number of patients employing this system, several bills are currently being put through Congress to maintain the funding even after the pandemic subsides.
Telemedicine has several perks now and outside a pandemic, including avoiding potential exposure to infections in waiting rooms, saving travel time, avoiding taking off from work, flexibility to see a faraway provider and more. Although telemedicine surely cannot replace all in-person medical care, a large amount of productive and successful medicine can be practiced virtually. The era of COVID-19 has undeniably proven that telemedicine has arrived, and it is here to stay.
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