The pace and extent of innovation have never been faster than when our world was severely impacted by the global pandemic that claimed millions of lives worldwide. Perhaps no form of technology accelerated as promptly and massively as that of telehealth. Although the concept of telehealth is not new, advances in broadband access, smartphone availability, and video meeting apps are enabling more use cases. And the best thing is that telehealth is here to stay despite early fears that the acceleration in telehealth was more of a byproduct of the pandemic that will wane.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth can be described as the delivery of healthcare services and solutions from a distance via technology. It can include anything from monitoring the vital signs of patients, training and continuing education of medical professionals, and conducting medical visits over the computer remotely.
It can be delivered in three ways:
- Synchronous: When the doctor communicates via telephone or computer in real time with the patient.
- Asynchronous: When messages, data, or images are recorded to be shared with the doctor later.
- Remote patient monitoring: When measurements like blood pressure readings or weight are sent to the health care provider.
Let us have a close look at some statistics to understand the rising growth of telehealth.
- 93 percent of telehealth patients sought care for conditions other than COVID-19 during January-March 2020.
- As of April 2021, 84 percent of physicians were providing virtual visits on the provider side and 57 percent prefer to continue providing these services.
- The telehealth market is expected to reach $186.5bn by 2026.
- The concept of telehealth saves more than 100 minutes of patients’ time compared to an in-person visit.
- 91 percent of patients say that telehealth would help them stick to their medical appointments and follow health, fitness, and wellness regimens.
- 74 percent of millennials prefer telehealth visits as compared to in-person doctor exams.
- 93 percent of clinicians are of the view that telehealth is an acceptable form of option for medical care.
Today, telehealth technology is fundamentally redefining how healthcare organizations are handling patients, residents, and census. This is primarily because telehealth services can significantly reduce emergency department visits and hospitalizations while improving clinical outcomes among patients with chronic and acute conditions.
Telehealth can be used for the following purposes:
- Specific teleconsultations
- Pre- and post-acute management of debilitating and chronic conditions
- Request prescription refills or schedule an appointment
- Check and share test results such as information about medications and allergies
- Getting text or email reminders when you’re due for routine vaccinations, colonoscopies, mammograms, or other screenings
- Patient self-management and education
- Post-acute patient stabilization
- Long-distance routine treatments and check-ups
- Improve organizational readiness, technology selection, and operational planning
Let us now explore some benefits of Telehealth.
Convenience and comfort
With telehealth, you don’t have to make a quick drive to the doctor’s clinic or office. You can simply sit on your comfortable couch and get connected with your doctor. Virtual telehealth visits can also easily fit into your busy schedule and follow social distancing norms. Moreover, you don’t have to make arrangements for childcare or take leave from work that adds to your comfort and convenience.
Control of infectious illness
Telehealth appointments can be used by doctors and patients to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, flu, and COVID-19. Patients can be prescreened for possible diseases and symptoms. This can save people to visit the doctor’s clinic or office. Less exposure to the germs of other people helps everyone, especially those who are pregnant, elderly, chronically ill, or immunocompromised.
Reduce rural barriers to care
One of the biggest advantages of telehealth is that it addresses challenges linked to delivering basic and post-acute care in rural areas. This is primarily because telehealth effectively and efficiently shrinks the distances between rural care nodes to make healthcare more accessible to everyone, reduce the driving time of patients, and promote patient-centric care.
Aid patients with limited or no mobility
Telehealth can be a great choice in wellbeing for patients who face difficulties travelling to healthcare settings. It is also an excellent choice for people who don’t have a reliable means of transportation or require urgent post-acute care during odd times.
Maintaining independence is a high priority for many older patients. The concept of telehealth can play a big role in helping them avoid reliance on institutionalization and others. From the Internet of Things to state-of-the-art connected care platforms, telehealth is helping today’s and tomorrow’s soon-to-be seniors to live out their golden years safely in their own comfortable homes.
Find out how your healthcare organization can take care of its’ residents, patients, and potential customers by reaping the benefits of technology and innovative solutions. Learn More
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