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Benjamin Yurovsky | October 16, 2022

As a child whenever I got sick with a cold or the flu, I knew what the protocols were: get in the car and head over to the pediatrician’s office. However, during the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, we were presented with the option of telemedicine. 

So what exactly is telemedicine? To put it simply, telemedicine is the treatment and diagnosis of patients via live video-conferencing technologies. Telemedicine is not an entirely new phenomenon, however it skyrocketed in popularity during the 2020 pandemic by as much as 8000%. But its popularity did not take a hit after the initial spike of Covid, in fact, according to a survey conducted by the ASPE in 2021, about one in four respondents had utilized some form of telemedicine in the prior month.  However its effectiveness, nonetheless, is astonishing. A study shows that patients who receive care through telemedicine score much lower for anxiety, depression and have about one-third fewer hospital admissions. Along with the diminished symptoms, the patients themselves are satisfied with their care. A SingleCare survey noted that close to 80 percent of respondents were satisfied with their care, while only 6 percent were not. However the 6 percent of people who claimed to be dissatisfied with their care mainly cited reasons such as being matched with a physician who is not their primary care provider as their primary concern.

But what kind of issues warrant a telemedicine visit? Most telemedicine “visits” are completed for noninvasive, non life threatening issues. This makes perfect sense, as it is impossible to perform open heart surgery over a video conference call. Rather, most telemedical appointments deal with issues such as common illnesses, talk therapy, and management of chronic conditions.

Vanderbilt University and VUMC have made significant strides on this front. Through Vanderbilt Telehealth by AcademicLive Care, or VTALC for short, students are able to attend physical and behavioral health appointments through a variety of mediums such as a smartphone, tablet or computer. VTALC pairs students with licensed doctors to help students through a glut of life’s challenges, both physical and psychological.  

Telemedicine is rather new, so there is no need to fear if you are unaware of how to navigate it. EduMed provides a phenomenal, succinct tutorial explaining how to use these resources and truly gain the most from them. Even after Covid-19 has begun to leave the front of our minds, telemedicine is still very popular, and it is beneficial to both the providers and students. Students are able to receive care while going along with their busy schedules, avoiding having to carve out a large amount of time to go to the doctor’s office. Additionally, providers benefit from the resurgence of telemedicine by still providing care even when they aren’t on duty. It allows doctors to diagnose and treat from the comfort of their homes if need be. 

All in all, telemedicine has risen to the forefront of people’s minds and has become an extremely viable and accessible resource to those who desire it. Its effectiveness and reliability has gradually become undeniable. So if you’ve made it this far through the article, don’t hesitate to reach out and utilize the copious amounts of resources available through Vanderbilt.


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