Telemedicine experts have stated time and again that in a few years, telehealth will dominate the health and medicine industry. Telehealth provides opportunities that make healthcare better coordinated, more efficient, and closer to home. Several technologies are being used in telehealth, including used in this industry includes cameras, computers, mobile devices, videoconferencing, using wireless communications and satellite and the internet. This way, patients can access health care services remotely and manage their health care.
So what exactly is telehealth?
Telehealth is referred to as the delivery of health care services from a distance by use of technology. Telehealth can include everything from monitoring patients’ vital signs remotely to conducting medical visits over the computer.
Telehealth can be used to manage the following:
• General health care, like wellness visits
• Nutrition counseling
• Medicine prescription
• Mental health counseling
• Eye exams
• Urgent care conditions, such as urinary tract infections, common rashes, and sinusitis.
Telehealth is a broad and revolutionary industry that also includes the practice of telemedicine, training for healthcare administrative meetings, health care providers, and services provided by pharmacists and social workers. There are many telehealth tools available that can help you manage your health care and receive the services you need, such as:
• Using a mobile phone or other devices to upload and update your food logs, blood sugar levels, medication, and dosing for review by a nurse who responds electronically.
• Online patients portals are available in some clinics and hospitals. These portals can also offer an alternative to email, which is a more secure means of communicating with your health practitioner.
• You can also watch a video on counting your carbohydrate or download an app that will help you do so on your phone.
• Diabetes patients can use applications to estimate how much insulin they need based on their diet and exercise level.
• Patients can use an online portal to schedule their appointments, have access to their test results, email their doctor, or request prescription refills.
• Telehealth allows individuals to make orders on testing supplies and medications online.
• Telehealth provides a platform to get text, phone, and email reminders, for appointments, examinations, tests, doses, or other preventive care.
• Telehealth encourages remote patient monitoring especially in older adults at home. This process ensures they take their medications on schedule, eating, and sleeping.
• Telehealth allows primary care physicians to oversee the screening and monitoring of diabetes disease. A patient can undergo mobile retinal photo screening at your doctor’s office instead of scheduling a physical appointment.
• Telehealth is provided to patients through virtual appointments with a doctor or a nurse via online videoconferencing. Virtual appointments allow you to receive ongoing care from your regular doctor when an in-person visit is not possible.
Advantages of Telehealth
1. Telehealth allows for health care to be accessible to people who live in rural or isolated communities.
2. Telehealth services are more readily available and convenient for people with limited mobility, time, or transportation.
3. Telehealth technology improves coordination of care and communication among members of the health care team and the patient.
4. Telehealth reduces the time patients wait to receive a specialist input and additionally eliminates unnecessary travel. Through virtual consultation, primary care doctors can get valuable input from specialists regarding questions that they might have regarding your diagnosis or treatment. Telehealth allows for transferring test results, X-rays or other images, exam notes, or a patient’s medical history to the specialist to review.
5. Telehealth has highly contributed to the offloading of traffic in hospitals as more people embrace this alternative.
Disadvantages of telehealth medicine
1. In certain instances, treatment may not be administered by your regular doctor.
2. Telehealth treatment might fail to take essential information from your medical history into consideration.
3. Telehealth features virtual visits that lack an in-person evaluation. This might hamper an accurate diagnosis from being formed.
4. Telehealth might not easily encourage an effective doctor-patient decision-making process in cases where treatment does not work and where plan B is needed when the initial treatment fails to work.
Telehealth is certainly a positive development in the healthcare industry. Moreover, telehealth has proven to ease the process of scheduling health appointments. Patients also get the ability to care for and manage their health properly. The cherry on top is the reduction in cost for healthcare services.