Three Ways Modern Medicine Has Changed Over the Past Few Decades
Medicine is a dynamic field that has made tremendous leaps and bounds in the last century. In particular, the last few decades have seen such a massive introduction of modern technology into the field that the very nature of health care in the United States is shifting drastically. Family care providers are becoming less common and less people are going to emergency rooms thanks to an increasing number of options available to American patients. Here are three significant changes that are contributing to these dynamic shifts in the field of American healthcare.
Urgent Care Centers
A few decades ago, health care was a relatively straightforward thing in the United States: one would have a primary care physician and the availability to go to the emergency room should their condition require immediate care. Since only 29% of primary care doctors have coverage after hours, this means that many people who still adhere to this traditional healthcare model are force to wait until their doctor’s office opens or head to the ER. Emergency departments categorize patients based on their ailment; the mean wait time for U.S. emergency departments from 2003 to 2009 only increased from 46.5 minutes to 58.1 minutes according to statistics. Furthermore, the average expense for those who went to the emergency room was $1,318 in 2009; it is no wonder that many people are reluctant to go to the emergency room. Thankfully, walk in health clinics have been popping up across the nation addressing the issue of limited availability and high-costs; many clinics have 24 hour coverage, cheaper costs than emergency rooms, and professional quality care since they are staffed by licensed medical professionals.
Telemedicine is a means by which an individual can receive clinical healthcare at a distance through the telephone or internet. Telemedicine is an ideal solution for those with medical conditions that require the consultation of an expert that may not be available locally or for those who are unable to leave the house. Telemedicine places individuals in direct contact with medical professionals who are able to diagnose, give advice, and even prescribe medication; with the introduction of webcams and video streaming, doctors and patients can meet face to face regardless of distance. While telemedicine applications were originally intended for those without access to local medical professionals, many are turning to telemedicine as a cheaper alternative to consult confidentially with a doctor.
Online STD Testing
Doctors assure patients that their information is treated confidentially, however there are some instances where a patient may choose not to disclose information to a doctor. The internet has provided an outlet for individuals to perform STD testing at home with kits that can be ordered from the net. Online STD testing provides complete confidentiality and fast results for those who wish to avoid a primary care physician or clinic. The cost of STD testing varies based on the kind of STD being tested generally; for those who are unsure and want to have themselves comprehensively checked out, there are tests that cover the 10 most common forms of STDs in the United States. Since each test varies, online STD testing requires various fluids from different parts of the body; thankfully each kit comes with easy to read instructions to guide the patient through the process. There are also a growing number of websites devoted to users of online STD tests to address concerns and questions one may have regarding the subject.