Offers Key Takeaways on What We Have Learned about Telemedicine from the Pandemic 

September 9, 2021

Kenilworth, N.J. – Merck Manuals, a comprehensive online medical reference, has updated its section on “Making the Most of a Healthcare Visit” with a timely discussion about using telemedicine in advance of the first annual Telehealth Awareness Week.

A recurring point made in the expanded essay is that with all healthcare visits, preparation is critical to making them productive. In the case of telemedicine sessions, simple checks include making sure your internet access is functioning, reviewing the latest information in your online patient portal, and uploading relevant images.

“The rise of telemedicine has transformed the healthcare arena and our new content on the subject reflects these developments,” said Melissa Adams, director of publishing for Merck Manuals. “While there may be no substitute for an in-person office visit with a clinician, telemedicine clearly serves as a beneficial supplement to traditional patient care.”

Telehealth Awareness Week, organized by the American Telemedicine Association, runs from September 19 through September 25. Telehealth, an umbrella term for delivering health services and information using digital methods, includes telemedicine, which specifically refers to the provision of clinical care remotely.

What We Have Learned 

Takeaways about what the pandemic has taught us about telemedicine follow.

The necessities of the pandemic have made telemedicine feasible for a larger portion of the population (those who may not have deemed themselves technologically savvy enough to conduct a telemedicine session have found new confidence in their ability after months of videoconferencing with friends and family).

Telemedicine improves access to care (for example, for those who don’t have reliable transportation, live in rural or remote areas, or have mobility issues).

Telemedicine enhances patient care (for example, by making routine and follow-up visits more convenient).

It is family friendly (parents need not arrange for childcare).

It can improve workplace productivity for both doctors and patients (by reducing the number of appointment cancellations and no-show patients, as well as decreasing the time patients take away from their work day).

It eliminates waiting room time (a consistent complaint among patients).

Telemedicine supports broad public health goals (such as mitigating the spread of infectious diseases and providing expanded options for chronic disease management). 

Credible Information for All

Visitors to can select advanced content, appropriate for health professionals and medical students, or easier to understand information developed for patients and consumers. 

More than 350 medical experts currently serve as contributors; content is reviewed by an independent editorial board and regularly updated online.

Use of the website is unlimited and always free. There is no registration and visitors are never asked to provide personal information. The user experience is not compromised by advertising or sponsored content of any kind.

Provided as a public service by Merck & Co., Inc., the digital offering expands on the subject matter contained in The Merck Manuals, a series of medical reference books long trusted by doctors and patients alike. 

The Merck Manual for doctors and pharmacists was first published in 1899. The book is now in its 20th Edition. 

The Merck Manual Home Health Handbook translates the complex medical terminology contained in The Merck Manual into everyday language for a lay audience. The first edition of the consumer version was introduced in 1997.

About Merck

For 130 years, Merck, known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, has been inventing for life, bringing forward medicines and vaccines for many of the world’s most challenging diseases in pursuit of our mission to save and improve lives.

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