How Telemedicine Can Help Athletes
Telemedicine Expands Access to Sports Medicine, Offering Peace of Mind to Athletes
Not every sports team has a telemedicine robot like Dartmouth's yet, but technology is rapidly facilitating the remote assessment of sports-related injuries such as sprains, strains, and concussions. A doctor remotely evaluates an injured athlete, either pre-empting an inconvenient office visit or determining that the patient needs to come in for further evaluation. Athletes, trainers, and coaches all benefit from having a physician on call at all times. However, it's often not practical to have a physician physically present, and telehealth alternatives offer peace of mind.
How Can Telemedicine Help Athletes?
If a player gets injured and needs urgent but not emergency care, telemedicine enables the patient to be evaluated virtually, even from the locker room. Through high-definition video, sports medicine doctors can determine whether a patient has a muscle strain or other injury, and can diagnose and treat with confidence. With the patient's active assistance, a doctor can perform a physical examination of an affected or injured area; for example, the doctor can guide the patient to press on a certain area and follow a certain pattern of movement, while describing the degree and type of pain, if any. Through telemedicine technology, a doctor can even guide an athletic trainer in detecting an injured player's concussion. Treatment via video consultations can save athletes time and money, helping them to get back on the field as quickly as possible. Telemedicine enables providers to treat more patients while reducing wait times, treatment times, and overhead costs. For athletic directors and coaches, telemedicine offers peace of mind and facilitates responsible care of the athletes under their charge.
Most Common Sports Injuries Can Be Assessed or Treated Remotely
Injuries in sports are very common, and it's crucial for athletes to have access to the specialized healthcare they need. Common sports-related injuries include: shin splints, joint (such as knee, elbow, ankle, and shoulder) injuries, concussions, ACL tears, and various other sprains and strains. Many of these conditions, if they can be healed without surgery, can be evaluated and treated remotely; mild shin splints, for example, can be treated with ice and resting at home for a matter of days. More serious injuries—such as a complete ACL tear—may require surgery, extended recovery, and even physical therapy lasting up to several months. Patients with concussions may require in-person treatment and should be medically cleared by a concussion specialist before returning to active sports. Telehealth technology enables shin splint patients and concussion patients alike to receive nearly instant medical advice and assessments to determine the kind and degree of medical intervention needed.
Less Travel for Athletes Can Mean Smoother and Faster Recovery
Long wait times at the doctor's office can be stressful. Frequent travel to and from in-person appointments can prolong an injured patient's recovery. With telemedicine technology, injured athletes can receive follow-up care—or possibly even an entire treatment regimen—remotely, thus reducing the need for travel. Injured athletes who remain in close contact with their physicians can remotely receive any instructions and medications necessary for recovery, while only going in for an office visit if absolutely necessary. Remote access to sports medicine is also especially helpful for traveling athletes who are injured while away from home.
SAMI-Aid Offers Affordable Telemedicine Consultations
SAMI-Aid membership includes one free telemedicine video call to a doctor specializing in sports medicine; membership costs only $4.99 per month! SAMI-Aid's sports medicine doctors are board-certified and can provide advice, a diagnosis, and prescriptions for medication if necessary. If a telemedicine consultation does not suffice, the doctor can then refer the patient to primary, specialty, or urgent care elsewhere. SAMI-Aid doctors send patients a report documenting each visit, and can recommend the best local pharmacies. SAMI-Aid is committed to promoting your health and well-being at all stages of your journey, from prevention to treatment and beyond.