Telehealth is a wide range of remote healthcare services, including real-time video conferencing and remote patient monitoring. It helps address the social determinants of health that prevent people from visiting their doctors or seeking treatment, such as transportation costs and time off from work.
The convenience of real-time remote telehealth benefits providers, patients, and insurance carriers. Read on to learn about these benefits.
Access to Care
Telehealth is an all-encompassing term that includes various digital communication technologies. Whether patients use video conferencing to meet for a virtual visit or mobile apps for remote monitoring, these tools provide them with more frequent healthcare touchpoints than they might otherwise have access to.
For instance, patients in remote places sometimes have to drive to the next big city for visits with specialists like endocrinologists or nutritionists. Telehealth solution allows them to meet with their providers without the extra expense and stress of commuting long distances.
Telehealth can also be helpful for patients with chronic conditions who need to check in with their physicians regularly. It enables patients to get better care from their doctors, even in remote locations. For instance, patients with diabetes can be monitored by remote telehealth tools like a glucose monitor and wearable devices to help them track their blood sugar levels. This data is then transmitted to healthcare providers for analysis and treatment planning.
Ease of Communication
Patients often enjoy the ease of communication that real-time telehealth provides. They don’t have to worry about commuting for an in-person appointment and can easily access the information and data they need from their home.
Moreover, they can also communicate with their doctor more frequently. For instance, some patients with diabetes are prescribed wearable devices that allow them to monitor their glucose levels at home and send this data to their healthcare provider. The provider can then check in with them about the results, adjust their medications and provide further guidance for self-management.
Telehealth services can help prevent health complications by providing frequent touchpoints between physicians and patients, leading to more effective care. Additionally, remote monitoring of chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension reduces the need for in-person visits and helps decrease healthcare costs.
The versatility of telehealth applications is its finest feature. It can be used for patient education, remote consultations with a physician through telemedicine, and virtual visits with nurses or mental health counselors. Large healthcare systems and small independent practices can use it.
As the name suggests, telehealth utilizes telecommunication technology to provide healthcare services remotely. It enables healthcare professionals to conduct virtual consultations and remote monitoring. It also allows patients to see doctors using video chat. Some doctors can even diagnose and prescribe medication. Sometimes, a patient can send medical images to another physician for a second opinion without driving thousands of miles or waiting a long time.
Since telehealth refers to various approaches to improve healthcare and education delivery, it may not be evident to some people.
For example, a doctor may recommend an antibiotic for a patient based on a telemedicine diagnosis. The patient can then pick up the prescription at a nearby pharmacy. It can assist you to save a ton of time and work. It can also improve outcomes by preventing unnecessary hospital visits. During times of natural disasters, emergency departments can become overcrowded. Having a patient talk to a physician via telemedicine first may help reduce this problem by allowing physicians to focus on the most urgent cases.
In a healthcare setting, telehealth allows providers to deliver services that are typically less expensive than in-person office visits. However, not all services are equally cost-effective.
Some telehealth technologies enable patients to stay home and receive care without traveling, addressing social determinants of health such as lack of transportation access. Other telehealth solutions, such as remote patient monitoring and virtual visits, allow clinicians to track medical information 24/7. This data may be used to support more targeted interventions and preventative care for patients and can also aid in reducing costs by avoiding the need for in-person follow-up visits.
This telehealth service could manage most low-acuity health concerns, eliminating unnecessary in-person specialty referrals and reducing overall costs. Additionally, on-demand virtual urgent care services allow consumers to access a healthcare provider through real-time video conferencing and avoid a costly trip to the ED or an urgent care center.
In a time when physicians are facing a shortage, remote telehealth offers the opportunity for healthcare professionals to care for patients across the country. In addition, it reduces unnecessary hospital visits and readmissions. It is accomplished by identifying indicators such as medication non-adherence and facilitating follow-up interactions between patients and providers.
In addition, telehealth and remote patient monitoring (RPM) allows clinicians to track symptoms between formal visits, leading to more accurate diagnoses of illnesses and better management of chronic diseases. It also helps identify any worsening of health conditions, which can help reduce emergency room visit rates.
The definition of telehealth continues to evolve, but it generally encompasses healthcare services structured like doctor-patient office visits. It includes real-time video conferencing, store and forward, mobile health, and remote patient monitoring. While there are still barriers to telehealth, such as reimbursement and standards for transmission of audio/video, the technology is continually being improved.