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How Telehealth Technology Is Transforming the Future of Healthcare

The coronavirus pandemic was a wake-up call for many people. Among the most severely affected were healthcare professionals, who suddenly had to adjust to the new restrictions and find other ways to contact their patients rather than meeting them face to face. According to live-in carers at HomeTouch, even healthcare specialists who continued to interact with their patients in person had to alter their regular way of doing things.

However, for those who had no choice but to limit contact with the sick, one of the solutions that proved to be invaluable in the long run was telehealth technology. Nowadays, many physicians and patients wonder if this technology will stay for good. And while some believe that remote healthcare services will play a crucial role in the future of healthcare, others remain sceptical.

This article aims at providing a helpful outline for the debate. It features explanations of what telehealth is and what benefits it offers, including enabling collaboration among doctors and increasing access for patients with mobility challenges.

 

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of technology to support and improve healthcare. Many healthcare organizations use telehealth to support patients, while others use it to support their own staff. There are many types of technology that can be used in telehealth, such as video conferencing, text messaging, and electronic health records.

Telehealth has been around for a while, though in a much different form. The first telephone triage services did not involve the use of specialized equipment and were only used for certain types of problems.

However, the term “telehealth” came later and is now used to describe the modern use of telecommunication technologies in healthcare. The other popular term is “telemedicine”, but it is a bit different from telehealth. Telehealth is a broader term that includes more uses of technology in healthcare, while telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services. It includes any kind of communication between healthcare providers and patients, including the use of video conferencing, e-mail, telephone calls, and other forms of communication.

It also includes using technology in hospitals and other clinical settings. Examples include using digital devices to monitor patients’ vital signs, set reminders for medication administration, and track progress during rehabilitation.

Finally, telehealth includes using technology to provide diagnostic services from a distance. This could include observing a patient through a camera or sending a sample to a lab for testing.

In addition, the Internet has opened up new opportunities for telehealth by allowing people from all over the world to access medical expertise from their homes or workplaces. Examples include online discussion forums where patients can ask questions or post pictures or videos of their conditions.

 

What Are the Benefits of Telehealth?

There are many benefits that telehealth offers, some more obvious than others. Two of the main benefits offered by telehealth is improved patient care and better coordination among different healthcare providers.

 

Remote Caregivers

For patients who are unable to leave their homes because of their condition, telehealth offers valuable support. It includes people with mobility challenges, such as people with paraplegia or multiple sclerosis (MS), or older adults with physical impairments or cognitive problems.

For these individuals, even short trips outside their homes can be exhausting and sometimes dangerous. Telehealth can help them get important information about their condition without having to travel across town for an appointment. It also helps caregivers who may need frequent guidance about their treatment or checkups.

Remote caregiving can also apply to people who live far away from urban centers. For example, it has been successfully applied in remote areas in Australia and Canada to help rural communities connect with doctors when they have issues with their health.

 

Improved Coordination Among Different Health Professionals

One of the most notable benefits offered by telehealth is improved coordination among different healthcare providers. It can be of significant help when different doctors collaborate with each other over long distances or when they share patient data with each other. Nevertheless, it can be especially valuable in cases where patients have complex conditions that require multiple specialists with different specialties to manage together.

For example, patients who require regular care from neurologists, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, cardiologists, pulmonologists, urologists, dermatologists, etc., could benefit from having all their data in one place. It would allow them to receive coordinated care from different specialists without having to go to different offices or hospitals every time they need care.

Telehealth could also help physicians coordinate patient care when several doctors are treating a single patient at different times or locations. Some examples include instances when surgeons work remotely with radiologists, talk with patients before surgery, or communicate with specialists remotely about patient conditions.

 

Conclusion

Telehealth has the potential to be a valuable tool for healthcare professionals and patients. However, it is important to remember that it is not a cure-all. While it can help with patient care, it also comes with its own limitations, such as limited access to devices and technology in remote areas. In addition, telehealth requires a lot of training by both healthcare professionals and patients.

In order to overcome these limitations, healthcare organizations can use telehealth to accompany existing medical services rather than replace them. They can also work together with other organizations that offer telehealth solutions to provide more options for patients and caregivers.

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