According to the latest health news updates, “investment is flowing into telehealth and digital health companies. Optum, part of United Health Group, is reportedly in talks to acquire virtual therapy provider Able To for $470 million. AbleTo has seen an uptick of users during the pandemic. Telehealth startup Medici reported it raised $24 million in Series B funding on April 27.” (Becker’s Healthcare)
The world is moving towards a digital world in every aspect of life. So how come the health department can stay behind? The best example of the use of digital information and communication technology is Telehealth. Telehealth allows you to access health care services and manage your health care by staying at home. For instance, a coronavirus infected patient can use their mobile phone or other devices to upload their vitals, their medications with dosages and can get a nurse who analyzes these things and respond digitally. All these within a single device with your doctor present there as well can be useful for a self-isolated person without even stepping out of the house is possible and everyone including patients and doctors is turning to virtual care services. Let’s have a look at eh scope of Telehealth services
Goals of Telehealth
The main goal is to make healthcare accessible to all, whether you live in a rural or secluded area, have limited resources such as transportation, time, or movability. The other goals include access to healthcare specialists, the improved connection between the healthcare team and the patient by improving communication and coordination. It also enables a person to selflessly manage their health without visiting a doctor.
Services of Telehealth
Firstly, the primary service that Telehealth provides is their patient portal, a more secure option than emails that lets you store your private information and allows you to communicate with doctors, schedule appointments, review test results, and request prescription refills.
Secondly, Virtual appointment and Remote Monitoring allows the patients to see their doctors or nurses through video conferences or you can treat your minor illness through web-based service by answering a few questions online. Similarly, a nurse call center is arranged that provides healthcare advice for home without prescribing any medications. While distant monitoring includes 24/7 monitoring of blood sugar, blood pressure, changes in normal activities, and other vital for all age groups through wireless or wired devices and then these are shared online with your doctor to keep an eye on your health.
Thirdly, doctor to doctor communication for connection between primary care doctors and specialists to communicate and prescribe better medication to the patient, and this also eliminates the wait time for specialists and unnecessary referrals to the specialist’s doctors. Though, the personal health care system (PHR) holds the patients’ medical record for access during an emergency or their doctor details and contact if needed
Per the latest health news, personal healthcare applications help the patient to record physical activity, health information, and vitals and also keep track of their calorie intake and give reminders to take medicine for better health, all the while staying at home.
Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth technology has the power to improve healthcare quality and make healthcare available to more people despite the areas or limitations. Telehealth is a step in providing efficient, better coordinated, and in-home or closer to home healthcare facilities. Telehealth is a new concept, but it’s gaining its success. For instance, a review study in 2016 found that telephone-based support and tele-monitoring of vital signs of people together for heart failure gradually reduced the risk of death or hospitalization for such people and improving their quality of life.
Every technology introduced has some limitations to it; similarly, Telehealth also has few limitations. While this service provides better healthcare but it also includes the risk of fragmenting healthcare. Such type of healthcare may lead to inappropriate or overuse of medications, gaps in care, or overlapping care that is not required. Also, limited access to internet availability or higher mobile devices costs in few regions may limit the use of telehealth. People who can’t pay for such a service, insurance reimbursement variable within states, and types of insurance can limit the potential benefits of Telehealth.
Telehealth is paving its way to mainstream healthcare services after the pandemic. This is a great technology that can be used for better healthcare with perfect coordination and communication between doctor and patient while eliminating the limitations to minimize any fragmented healthcare that may be harmful to the patient.