Telehealth is an innovative approach to health care that is rapidly expanding in all areas of patient care. It has been shown to be cost effective and is rapidly being integrated into everyday practices from clinics, hospitals, court systems, school systems and even the local drug store.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss how technology has impacted the health care delivery system. Health care technology is advancing at an increasingly rapid rate in the United States, and globally. Patients and providers are witnessing these changes through the use of telehealth, and telemedicine applications. Telehealth, and telemedicine are often used interchangeably, however there is a difference between the two applications. Telehealth is the use of technology to deliver health care, health information, or health education at a distance (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.).
The benefits of telehealth consultations are immeasurable; clients are able to access a knowledgeable health care professional and receive a telephone triage/assessment and recommendations. This allows the patient to have immediate access to good health advice and quicker solutions. Telemedicine is one of the many vehicles of telehealth; for example, the cardiologist orders an outpatient Holter Monitor trial to evaluate arrhythmias. The technician calls the patient at the sign of any abnormal rhythm and investigate the activity performed when the reading fluctuation then the reported is communicated to the cardiologist. If warranted, the cardiology staff will contact the patient with instructions schedule an immediate appointment. Telehealth services resources would benefit the client in this next example, an individual’s come in for a sick visit expecting a prescription to be written for their illness; they receive informative instructions because of the nature of the
In this context telemedicine and technological capability can respond to two major strands: the first is a simplification to ensure that with available technologies, all actors of a clinical path from taking care to resign, share real-time Useful information for themselves and for other professionals in order to identify and follow the best path. The second strand is the provision on the territory of technological capacities that are very developed in a hospital environment but whose deployment is quite circumscribed.
Telehealth has been a large topic of debate in recent years because of the economic, political, and regulatory points of view. In deciding outcomes in these areas, it is the responsibility of all healthcare professions to identify information gaps in order to come to the more rational and beneficial conclusion about telehealth (Grace, 2014). Economically, there are concerns regarding the access and affordability of telehealth equipment. At the same time, telehealth is being adapted in ways to be utilized with technological devices that many individuals already have access to like telephones, cellular phones, and personal computers/laptops. Telehealth can positively impact both clients and providers by increasing access to care and reducing the time and costs associated with traveling for health care (Allen, Aylott, Loyola, Moric, & Saffarek, 2015). As telehealth develops technological devices can be made more affordable and can be covered by insurance policies (Thomas et al., 2014). Many nurses functioning as case managers can help provide the tools and resources individuals require to manage their health.
While sometimes used interchangeably in literature, telemedicine is the remote delivery of clinical data using the internet, telephone, wireless, and satellite media (“The Rise of Telehealth,” 2015). Telehealth services are provided through various devices such as cell phones, the internet, video, and computer software. The goal of telehealth is to “provide the right care at the right place at the right time” (“Home Telehealth: A Tool for Diabetic Self-Management,” 2016). Telehealth applications perform a wide array of functions. For instance, certain programs collect objective and subjective findings which help the healthcare team identify a diagnosis. Some telehealth technologies have been designed to allow images to be uploaded and assessed by healthcare professionals. Certain applications provide the patient with remote monitoring. Other services are designed to educate and prevent certain disease processes among its users (“The Rise of Telehealth,” 2015). All of the services which telehealth offer are designed to track various trends in patient data and the goal is that they be as user friendly as
According to the journal article Telehealth is Calling, it describes 3 distinct technologies that fall under telehealth, this includes,
Increasing access to quality health care services is a problem that can be tackled with emerging technology, such as Telehealth. Telehealth is becoming universally essential for efficient, cost-effective delivery of health care across a variety of settings (Bashshur & Shannon, 2010). Telehealth is proving to be an effective tool in combatting the problem of provider shortages as evidenced by rural hospitals starting to provide electronic consultations with specialists all over the country (Betbeze, 2017). Although telehealth technologies were originally aimed at improving access to health care for geographically remote patients, the areas of care being used by telehealth has extended its use well beyond those who are geographically isolated
Often the biggest barriers to accessing healthcare are cost and location. Lower income individuals just do not have the resources to have optimal healthcare, or cannot take the time away from employment to deal with health issues. One potential solution to help with these problems could be “telehealth.” Telehealth allows a lower level healthcare practitioner to communicate with a physician or specialists when necessary. Remote rural areas use a Physician Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner on location in remote areas.
Telemedicine is similar to Telehealth. Telehealth refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare service but Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services. Telehealth can also refer to remote non-clinical services. For example provider training and meetings (link 3). In the past the network is not as fast as now, thus telemedicine is only use in clinical services. Now, due to the development of network, more information can be transferred in a shorter period, thus Telemedicine can be to provide other non-clinical services. The word “Telehealth” refers to both clinical and non-clinical services.
Many of these barriers exist from lack of essentially knowing the benefits of what the incorporation of telehealth can offer within the aspect of this type of community. At times, there has been a great interest in telehealth surrounding its potential to reduce health care costs along with the improvement of patient outcomes, but at times there has been no known scientific evidence base underpinning it (McLean, Sheikh, Cresswell, Nurmmatov, Mukherjee, Hemmi & Pagilari, 2013).
There is an increasing need within the U.S. for quality health care to be provided to individuals who have limited access whether it is due to a rural environment, disabilities, or in the field of battle. Telemedicine is literally medicine provided at a distance. Telehealth is able to alleviate some of the effects of a growing shortage of professionals such as primary care physicians. In this type of health care delivery, the dynamics between the patient and the entire health care system changes. Telemedicine meets the increasing demands of patients to have greater access, or responsiveness, from a health care provider. It also meets the needs of the provider who is very interested in time-saving, safety-enhancing assistance in their daily practice. Employers and health plans are also very interested in telemedicine as a means of improving compliance with treatment plans and care management initiatives (Hodgkins, 2008). The use of email also allows the patient to have increased access to their health care providers. Instead of calling their health care provider’s office, patients are now able to email their non-emergent health care questions to their provider. Conversely, health care providers are able to email patients reminders for appointments or wellness tips.
Telemedicine is the use telecommunications and information technology to provide healthcare to patients located in the remote or distant locations. For example: people staying in the mountainous areas or islands can get medical services right at their home with the help of smart devices or patients who cannot go to the hospital for some reason.
There are several forms of technology that is used to monitor, assist patients with self-care management, assist physicians with delivering care to their patients, including consultation with specialist, and overcoming barriers with transportation. “60% of the healthcare executives, physicians, and nurses in this inaugural survey said that telemedicine was a high priority for 2015“ (Vockley, 2015, para. 7) Telemedicine