Telehealth has become one of the most useful solutions in managing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this method is nothing new. Telemedicine was originally conceptualized to support the gaps of long-distance clinical health care, which has become more important than ever this last year.
This method, which involves the use of electronic information and telecommunications to carry out healthcare-related services and education, makes use of various tools such as videoconferencing, store-and-forward imaging, media streaming, and other forms of internet-based and wireless communications.
As in-person meetings are minimized to control the spread of the virus, telehealth has become a useful communication channel for patient and medical professionals, as well as public health and health administration. By allowing the easier flow of communication between and among health professionals and patients, telehealth makes the world seem like a small village.
Also called electronic health (e-health) or mobile health (m-health), here are the most common ways in which telehealth has changed the health industry:
- Telehealth for 24/7 Remote Patient Monitoring
In the past years, a physician has to personally examine the patient in order to access medical care. Now, thanks to various technological advances, patients’ data can be gathered by digital devices, smartphone apps, and internet-enabled computers. Wearables and other electronic monitoring devices may now be used to collect and transmit vital signs including blood pressure, cardiac stats, oxygen levels, blood glucose levels, and respiratory rates. This data can then be sent to physicians who will act appropriately based on the health data gathered.
Some more advanced devices can be programmed to schedule reminders for taking medicine, while some home monitoring devices for older people can detect changes in normal activities and may be helpful in alerting authorities for accidents such as slipping and falling. You can learn more about telehealth by watching this:
- Telehealth Allows Virtual Appointments
Most clinics offer virtual appointments, where patients are examined by doctors via videoconferencing. This is highly convenient not only to limit the spread of COVID-19 but also to reach out to patients who have reduced mobility or are located in remote parts of the country.
In some cases, virtual appointments use chatbots to ask a patient about several symptoms and other important details. After gathering pertinent health-related questions, the doctor will prescribe medications, home care methods, or additional care, if necessary.
- Telehealth Makes Healthcare Services More Interactive
Patients no longer need to sit and wait after securing an appointment with a doctor. Hospitals and clinics have online patient portal where patients’ queries are answered and their concerns addressed. Take, for instance, https://teleemc.com/, which offers telemedicine services to patients. The portal provides a patient with a secure means to interact with medical professionals.
By logging in, a patient can easily communicate with a physician or nurse, request for prescription refills, review laboratory tests results, and schedule appointments.
- Telehealth Leads to Better Diagnostic Care
Advances in technology also allows physicians to provide better care to their patients by discussing with specialists about your diagnosis and treatment. One of the major benefits of telehealth is the seamless sharing of files including exam notes, patient history, test results, X-rays or other images. Your primary care physician can send these to the appropriate specialist for thorough discussion about your case. With communication exchanges done electronically, these virtual meetings between physicians helps prevent delays caused by in-person referrals. Don’t worry about out-of-pocket costs as many telehealth costs are covered by Medicare and other health insurance companies.
- Telehealth for Easy Access to Personal Health Records
Various apps can be downloaded and installed over multiple devices that can help you store your personal health information. There’s an electronic personal health record system which holds all your health information that you can access whenever you would like.
This is useful in times of emergency, as you can easily provide your health attendant with vital information, including diagnoses, medications, drug allergies and your doctor’s contact details.
- Telehealth Addresses Physician Shortages
This method helps address the problems faced by remote areas where healthcare professionals are few and far between. It also facilitates better coordination between smaller hospitals and specialists in larger and more advanced medical facilities. Telehealth is likewise being implemented to provide healthcare services for the detained, as well as in rural communities and underserved urban areas to improve healthcare access.
- Telehealth Provides Learnings and Trainings
In order to keep their license, physicians are required to engage in continual learning, especially since medical advances occur at a faster rate these days. By using video-conferencing and other online tools under the telehealth principle, practitioners can engage in a blended learning approach to enhance their knowledge and skills.
The main goals of telehealth include: improve overall accessibility of healthcare services, provide easy access to medical professionals and specialists, enhance coordination between the healthcare providers and patients, and empower patients to manage their self-health care. There are various companies that offer these services. Consider these factors before choosing a telehealth solution.
Telehealth has been addressing various healthcare-related problems and enhances medical access for patients and resource-starved medical facilities. Aside from convenience, it also saves time and costs. For these reasons, telehealth is becoming more and more the favored method among various stakeholders in the healthcare industry.