Telehealth is a concept that most patients and doctors are aware of post-pandemic induced factors where social distancing became a norm. The presence and utility of telehealth have been around for a few years, and the model was used for spreading public health education in remote places where quality and affordable healthcare was not available. It was used as a system to help out underprivileged locations in developing countries through health missions of organizations such as UN and WHO-funded missions.
Telehealth solution is the term for use of electronic and telecommunication modes to reach out to remote locations and connect distanced patients with healthcare professionals. It is used to support regular clinical consultations, reviews, follow-ups, and the spread of public health education.
Purpose of telehealth
Telehealth transcends beyond the boundaries of brick-and-mortar healthcare facilities. A quarter of the population in America lacks quality and affordable care in their vicinity. Without qualified clinical opinion, most people will resign themselves to pain and allow their ailments to become chronic and irreversible.
Through telehealth modes, healthcare facilities and government organizations can connect with patients and discuss their issues to draw down treatment plans. With help of remote patient monitoring, consistent observation of physiological conditions is enabled.
With the rise in AI-powered digital tools and the next generation of patients that are embracing the concept of staying connected with their clinicians, soon there will be a stage when telehealth will become a norm. It will be akin to what work from home is to human resources.
Modalities of telehealth solutions
Real-time video conferences for consultations will help physicians connect with their patients who are located in different places. Virtual visits will help in face-to-face interaction which will make them more responsive than just normal phone calls.
- Store and forward
The data relating to the patient’s history, current symptoms, and diagnostic and pathology reports are collected asynchronously through third-party coordinators. This data is stored and forwarded through email or common data storage repository access.
- Remote monitoring
Patients in remote patient monitoring programs are given wearable devices that will measure the physiological conditions that are the data points for the health conditions. For instance, a CHF patient is given a device to monitor pulse rate and blood pressure, but a COPD patient is given an oximeter to measure blood oxygen levels.
Benefits of telehealth solutions
Telehealth will soon become an important pillar of the healthcare industry and will be an acceptable form of patient care delivery. Here are the core benefits that have been scaled through telehealth solutions:
- Meet physician shortages
While recruiting new and skilled doctors is a time-consuming process, physician shortages can be easily addressed through telehealth solutions that help in connecting with patients where there are fewer or no doctors. Meeting the workforce demands through all possible channels while leveraging technology is a holistic approach.
- Reach underserviced
Before the gap due to lack of healthcare infrastructure can be fulfilled through a comprehensive hospital and adjunct clinics in remote and under-serviced regions, it is important to start a patient interaction model through telehealth. In this manner, the residents of these areas can consult and avail medical opinion for all their minor or maintenance requirements.
- Public health
Public health is a major expenditure of healthcare costs for any government. Sending a group of doctors to different areas is a cost-intensive project, and it can be reduced through public health education campaigns through telehealth communication solutions.
- Education of delivery staff
Nurses and clinicians can avail of telehealth media to stay connected with medical developments and research updates. Staff training in patient handling through telehealth can be imparted through the same medium to make it a practical experience. Without training in handling telehealth solutions, execution will be difficult.
Telehealth is a boon for patients who are not able to move due to chronic symptoms. Their mobility is restricted and their pain cannot subside without medical intervention. Through different modalities of telehealth solutions and their easy execution, patients can access clinical advice and timely interventions that can reverse the recurrence of any adverse episodes. Patient engagement and outcomes increase through consistent monitoring mechanisms of RPM solutions and help the healthcare industry in maintaining a low-cost patient delivery model.