Viewpoint: Telemedicine will be vital for future of emergency medicine

Naomi Diaz -

The pandemic required emergency departments to rely on digital technology, but telemedicine should be extended beyond the realm of the pandemic and become further integrated into emergency medicine, a commentary written in the New England Journal of Medicine Catalyst Dec. 21 suggested.

Rahul Sharma, MD, chair of emergency medicine at New York City-based Weill Cornell Medicine, and Judd Hollander, MD, senior vice president of healthcare and delivery innovation at Philadelphia-based Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, offered new strategies on how emergency rooms can use telemedicine to their benefit. 

The authors stated digital technologies have the capability to evaluate a patient with extremity injuries in a virtual emergency department instead of an in-person emergency room. They also suggested that digital technology can schedule outpatient diagnostic testing.

The second strategy the authors suggested was community paramedicine. This program would allow paramedics to evaluate patients with more serious injuries at home while consulting with a physician by phone or video. This practice combined with the use of remote monitoring technology could be used to track patient recovery after patients have been discharged.

Both of the authors stated that telemedicine should be used to support in-person care and that access to telemedicine could help healthcare providers address health disparities in communities.

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