Telehealth: The future of healthcare?

Telehealth is a modern health phenomenon that comprises innovative care delivery services that link patients to their care professionals. This connection is facilitated through wireless communication, streaming, texting, and video conferencing, among other forms of communication. The growth of technology has prompted the use of these methods to offer affordable and quality healthcare to patients. 

Overview of telehealth

Telehealth witnessed a surge two years ago when the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. Many healthcare facilities, as well as homes, invented ways of delivering health services while limiting exposure. This phenomenon has picked up momentum; today, it is bigger than ever. Many caregivers would like to explore what telehealth would look like beyond the pandemic. However, some conditions might need physical attendance at health centers.

The Health Resources Services Administration considers telehealth a platform where health administration and long-distance clinical healthcare is conducted through telecommunication technology and electronic information. This is a broad field whose examples include a video meeting where public health officers communicate healthcare policies, a videoconference with doctors communicating symptoms of a disease, and a counselor engaging with a mental health patient through app-hosted text messages.

Telehealth platforms

There is every indication that the future of healthcare is telehealth. The sector has witnessed the growth of software programs and apps. Patients now have many channels through which they can connect with their caregivers. The main telehealth platforms range from apps to complete software suites, although more platforms are likely to be available in the future.

The first option is telemedicine suites, which comprise software that integrates many technologies to link professional healthcare providers with patients. The suites may include reminders through SMS to enable voice recording, patient scheduling, or provision of online forms. 

Another platform comprises browser-based software apps that run on browsers like Firefox and Chrome. The apps facilitate free and secure online video communication and messaging. There are also paid services with additional offers, including encryption. Apps like these are mainly used by mental health counselors. 

Last is the health monitoring software, which is used to coordinate patient information. This technology facilitates caregivers to remotely control and manage devices like glucometer adapters, pulse oximeters, and blood pressure monitors. Some institutions have already developed and installed Bluetooth-enabled devices that can transmit biometric data for providers and patients to analyze.

The future of healthcare with telehealth

The healthcare industry must conform to this change as the world transforms into the digital phase. There is a newfound appreciation of the telehealth potential, which will dictate how medical care is given to patients in the future. Below are ways through which telehealth is going to change the future of healthcare:

Increased chronic care management

There are worrying statistics regarding chronic conditions globally. Out of every 3 adults, at least one suffers from a chronic disease, including stroke side effects, diabetes, lung disease, heart disease, and more. Unfortunately, most of the patients cannot afford treatment or follow-up sessions to help manage the conditions. Treatment costs run into billions annually, so telehealth is an attractive alternative. It is a convenient way to reduce waiting room queues and commuting charges. Frequent online sessions will eliminate other risks that may aggravate the situation.

Integrated data sharing

Telehealth has come in as a solution for managing data by enabling easy and convenient data sharing. Many apps enable professional healthcare providers to track step counts and heart rates using a device. The providers can now get a holistic view of a patient’s lifestyle. Compared with electronic records, a clearer picture of the state of health of that individual is formed. Although this is among the latest medical technology, it is important that medical professionals expand their knowledge about it. 

One of the ways to do this is by attending conferences where this tool is used or engaging in further education that explores such medical technologies and their place in modern nursing. Institutions such as the University of Indianapolis offer an online ABSN program that helps equip nurses with the relevant telehealth skills to suit the current and future healthcare environment. This program is suitable for professionals who have already acquired other nursing-related degrees and for people with any relevant bachelor’s looking for a career shift. The program is CCNE accredited and can be completed in just 15 months. 

Convenient remote pediatric care

Children can be shy and unable to vocalize their health problems, which presents an issue when it comes to monitoring them. It is even more complicated for those who need long-term care. Telehealth makes it more convenient for the parent due to reduced cost of quality care. Before Covid-19, telehealth was already a discussion, but its implementation became a reality during and beyond the pandemic.

New parents are adopting technology at a very fast rate. In the next few years, telehealth will be the main form of service delivery, especially through virtual means. A huge chunk of telehealth services is now being designed for children. Those who require virtual physiotherapy services now have video games to mimic. There is no doubt this technology will continue to improve in the coming years.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts