The internet is certainly a thing of wonder, it has shaped our lives into what it is today by changing the way we do so many things. You can keep in touch with a loved one despite being hundreds of miles apart, you can shop for groceries and so many other things from the comfort of your home, you can learn about practically anything you want without having to be in a classroom.
Nowadays you don’t necessarily have to go to a hospital to have your health checked, all you need is a smartphone and internet connection, and viola; this is what telehealth is. If you are still a little confused, you should not worry, by the end of this article, you will be fully acquainted with telehealth and what it is all about.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the use of digital information and communication technology, such as computers and mobile devices, to access and manage health care services remotely. These could be technologies that you use at home or that your doctor employs to improve or supplement healthcare services.
Consider how telehealth could assist you if you suffer from an illness. Some or all of the following options are available to you:
- Upload meal logs, prescriptions, dosage, and blood sugar readings to a nurse who answers electronically via a mobile phone or other devices.
- Watch a video about carb counting and then get an app for your phone.
- Use an app to calculate how much insulin you need based on your diet and exercise level.
- See your test results, make appointments, seek prescription refills, and email your doctor via an online patient portal.
- Online ordering is available for testing supplies and medications.
- Rather than making an appointment with a specialist, get a mobile retinal photo screening in your doctor’s office.
What Are The Goals of Telehealth?
- Provide easy access to health services to people living in rural or isolated regions.
- Make services more accessible to persons who have restricted mobility, time, or transit alternatives.
- Access to medical specialists should be made available.
- Improve communication and care coordination between members of a healthcare team and patients.
- Provide assistance with health-care self-management.
Telehealth is all around us, as we can see. Telehealth is pervasive in today’s tech-based world, from your family doctor’s upcoming appointment text reminder to your chiropractor’s post-visit survey. And it isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. According to MarketsandMarkets, the worldwide telehealth market was valued at $2.78 billion in 2016, and it is expected to reach $9.35 billion by 2021, increasing at a compound annual rate of 12%.
Now is the moment to join the telehealth bandwagon if you haven’t already. But what is available in the telehealth sector, and which type of telehealth is ideal for your patient population?
The Four Types of Telehealth
1. Mobile Health (mHealth)
The use of smart devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) and health-based software apps designed for these devices to promote continuing healthcare is known as mobile health. Many health-related applications are now available that can track everything from a diabetic’s blood sugar level to a person’s daily water intake. These applications encourage healthy lifestyle practices and can interact with a patient’s personal health information if they are built to do so.
2. Asynchronous Video
Asynchronous video is the electronic transmission of a patient’s documented health history by a healthcare provider outside of real-time. This sort of telehealth is commonly employed in remote locations when clinicians need to consult with a professional in another place. It also helps bring healthcare to areas where it is lacking, particularly in terms of specialists.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is the collection of a patient’s health data from a patient or resident in one location and sending it electronically to a healthcare professional (provider, nurse, etc.) for monitoring and review. It is commonly used for seniors or in senior living settings. RPM is particularly useful in senior care facilities to prevent falls and keep an eye on residents’ vital signs.
4. Live Video-Conferencing
Live video conferencing, the most well-known kind of telehealth, is exactly what it sounds like: a live, two-way video-based conference between a patient and their healthcare provider. Everyone from physicians in local hospitals to clinicians who own their own private practice uses this type of telemedicine. Live video-conferencing not only saves time and stress for both the patient and the practitioner, but it also helps to bring healthcare to rural areas where there aren’t nearly as many possibilities as in cities.
The Difference between Telehealth and Telemedicine
For some that already know about telehealth, it is quite easy to mistake telehealth with telemedicine.
Telemedicine is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “healing from a distance.” This allows you to get treatment without having to make an appointment with your doctor or visit their office for medical services.
Telehealth on the other hand is the use of electronic data and telecommunications technology to support and promote long-distance clinical healthcare, patient and professional health education, public health, and health administration. Telehealth isn’t a product or a service. It’s a means of bettering patient care and physician education. Telehealth encompasses non-clinical events such as appointment scheduling, continuing medical education, and physician training, in addition to telemedicine.
The Benefits of Telehealth
- Everyone’s exposure to COVID-19 is reduced when physical contact is limited.
- You can access health care anywhere you are – at home, at work, or even in your car – with virtual visits.
- Virtual visits eliminate the need for travel, time off from work, and child care.
- Virtual health care tools can help you get an appointment sooner.
- Increased access to specialists who are based in locations other than your hometown
There are various sorts of telemedicine available in the ever-growing telehealth market that can help your patients improve their lifestyle behaviors and improve their overall health. Similarly, telehealth gives you a complete picture of your patient’s daily vitals, allowing you to intervene and/or change treatment to enhance their health.
Click here if you’d like to learn more about telehealth and how to incorporate it into your practice.
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What types of care can I get using telehealth?
Lab test or x-ray results, therapy and online counseling, recurring conditions like migraines or urinary tract infections, skin conditions, prescription management, urgent care issues like colds, coughs, and stomach aches, post-surgical follow-up.
What does telehealth mean?
Telehealth allows your doctor to treat you without having to come into the office. Telehealth is primarily done online using a computer, tablet, or smartphone with internet connectivity.
What is the difference between telehealth and telemedicine?
Although these two terms are frequently used interchangeably (including on this website), there is a technical distinction. Telemedicine is the provision of remote clinical patient care, whereas telehealth encompasses a far larger variety of services such as education, patient monitoring, and so on while telehealth refers to the use of digital information and communication technology, such as computers and mobile devices, to access and manage health care services remotely. These could be technologies that you use at home or that your doctor employs to improve or supplement healthcare services.
What are some of the best telehealth apps for smartphones?
Some of the best-rated telehealth smartphone apps in 2022 are Teladoc, Sydney Care, Doximity, MDLive, TalkSpace, Doctor on-demand, and Healow.
How can I evaluate telehealth vendors?
Consider the following 4 critical variables while assessing telehealth vendors:
3. Customer Service
4. Clinical Validation