TeleHealthcare: Technology Meets Healthcare
The advancement of technology has continued to transform the lives of people globally. In particular, it has altered how you can buy goods and services, stay in touch with friends and family and search for information related to health issues. There is currently numerous telehealth software that can assist you in managing your healthcare issues and enabling you to receive the services you need. Below are the critical aspects that you should know about telemedicine software.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the idea of employing digital information and communication technologies, including mobile devices and computers, to enable patients to remotely access health care services and manage their health and wellbeing. Patients can use the telemedicine software from their home or visit a local hospital where a doctor will connect the patient to another doctor to receive the healthcare support they need. For instance, if a patient has diabetes, telemedicine can help them in various ways.
In this case, they will be required to do the following to receive telehealth services:
- Use a mobile phone, laptop, or other devices to upload their blood sugar levels, medications, and nutrition so that a nurse can review and respond electrically.
- Use a suggested medical app to estimate the amount of insulin they need based on your exercise and diet level.
- Order medications and testing supplies online.
- Use an online patient portal to schedule appointments, know their test results, and request medical prescriptions from their doctor.
- Create an email account or phone reminders to remind the patient when they need an examination or doctor’s visit.
Goals of telehealth
Telehealth software can help achieve the following goals:
- Offer support for self-management of health care.
- Enhance coordination and communication of healthcare among medical healthcare staff and patient.
- Ensure patients access medical specialists.
- Ensure that people with limited transportation options, time, or mobility issues can conveniently access healthcare services anytime they wish.
- Ensure that people who live in isolated or rural areas can easily access healthcare services.
Types of telehealth services
Local health care clinics can use an online patient portal that is an alternative method to email that patients can access healthcare information. An email is insecure when it comes to communicating a patient’s private medication information. In this case, a portal can offer a more secure option that can achieve the following.
- Communicating with the patient’s primary healthcare nurse or doctor
- Request appointment reminders or schedule appointments
- Review summaries and test results of past visits
- Requests for prescriptions
For large healthcare facilities, a portal can offer patients a single communication point to get in touch with other specialists.
Some healthcare facilities might offer virtual appointments where patients can communicate with their nurse or doctor through videoconferencing. The appointments will enable them to receive ongoing healthcare. They can also access web-based visits, especially for minor illnesses. When a patient uses a web-based service, a doctor will guide them through a set of questions related to their health. The medical practitioner can prescribe medications, recommend additional medical care, and suggest home care strategies. Although these services can be convenient, they do have some disadvantages such as:
- It is difficult for patients and doctors to shared decision-making concerning treatments or undertake an alternative plan if the initial treatment is not successful.
- Virtual visit does not have in-person evaluation. Therefore, it might result in an inaccurate diagnosis.
- If the patient has a complex medical history, online decision-making might not be optimal.
- The doctor might not consider critical information from your past medical examinations.
The following technologies will enable doctors to monitor a patient’s health remotely:
- Home monitoring devices are used for people with dementia or older people. These devices can detect changes to normal body activities.
- Wearable devices record and transmit information automatically. The devices monitor sleep patterns, physical activity, tremors, posture control, gait, blood glucose, and heart rate.
- Devices that monitor and measure lung function, blood glucose levels, and blood pressure.
Doctors communicating with other doctors
Doctors can also use telehealth technology to offer better healthcare to their patients. For instance, primary care doctors can consult virtually with specialists to seek answers to questions regarding treatment and diagnosis. In this case, a doctor will send examination notes, test results, medical history reports, X-rays, and other related information to a specialist for review. After reviewing, the specialist will respond electronically and, in some cases, request a face-to-face meeting. The virtual consults prevent unnecessary referrals of the patients and minimize patient waiting time.
Personal health records
An electronic personal health record system is one of the techniques that your primary health care can use, and it will contain the healthcare information you can maintain and control. You can access a personal health record app through a web-enabled device at any time using your devices. Personal health records can be helpful, especially during an emergency, as you can easily access your doctor’s contact information, medications, and current diagnosis.
Personal health apps
Numerous telemedicine apps have been established to assist patients in organizing their medical information better. Some of the digital tools include:
- Record your physical activities, including daily step counts.
- Schedule reminders on how you can take your medicine.
- Record critical signs and symptoms.
- Store your essential health information.
Potential of telehealth
Telemedicine software might offer opportunities to make healthcare more coordinated, efficient, and closer to the patients.
Limitations of telehealth software
Although telehealth has several potential benefits, it can contribute to fragmented health care. In this case, fragmented health care can result in overlapping or unnecessary care, inappropriate use of medications, and overuse of medical care. The patients who can benefit from telehealth might be limited to the high cost of mobile devices and internet availability. The high cost of access to the services might limit the number of people who can access them. In other cases, the reimbursement of insurance for telehealth differs on the type of insurance and the state you live in.