Telehealth is the delivery of health care and health education at a distance through digital devices and communication technologies. The healthcare providers in this specialty use many techniques to promote healthcare delivery. Telehealth ensures it offers quality services and practices ethics similar to in-person healthcare.
However, the lack of consistent definition has confused medical personnel, policymakers, and the public. The current medical improvement has made telehealth popular and better understood in society. Telehealth involves four distinct applications that help enhance better healthcare services to many patients in different locations. These components include:
Store-and-forward focus on electronic transmission of medical information like documents, images, and pre-recorded videos to your specialist. Your specialist uses this information to evaluate your situation and offer services outside live interaction. Compared to real-time visits, store-and-forward services allow data access after collection and involve communication tools like secure mail.
X-rays, MRIs, patient data, and video-exam clips are data transferred in store-and-forward. Store-and-forward services are primarily used in pathology, dermatology, radiology, and ophthalmology specialties. Doctors commonly apply this service when live video and in-person care are unnecessary. Since these consultations do not require a specialist, services are efficient as you and your healthcare provider are available simultaneously.
Store-and-forward technology has various benefits to patients and medical professionals, which include:
- You can get healthcare efficiently and conveniently without traveling to your primary care provider.
- Store-in-forward helps to reduce wait times, especially in areas with insufficient medical personnel.
- Primary caregivers and medical specialists can review your conditions, regardless of your location.
- Medical specialists can review your case anytime without creating a schedule with you.
- The store-and-forward program can overcome language and cultural barriers.
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Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring involves transmitting your health and medical data to your service provider via electronic communication. Your provider is situated in a different location and uses the information to offer care and related support.
The remote patient monitoring program will collect your health data from your point of care. Vital signs, weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar are essential parameters involved in this program. The data is then transferred to your doctor in health facilities like hospitals and clinics.
This health service enables your doctor to continue tracking your health status progress once your doctor releases you from a care facility. Remote monitoring will help you maintain health and allow older adults and disabled patients to live at home and avoid moving to health facilities. It also reduces costs by minimizing hospitalizations, readmissions, and lengthy hospital stay.
Live video, also called real-time, involves interaction between you and your specialist. Video devices used include peripheral cameras, video scope, web cameras, and display devices used are computer monitors or projectors. Doctors use live video for consultation, diagnosis, and treatment services. Video conferencing is cost-effective if you are institutionalized or incarcerated.
Live video is the most used application in telehealth. It is used in many medical applications such as:
Emergency rooms: Video conferencing can connect to a specialist not present in an in-person visit. Doctors can offer support to ICU medical staff to help monitor patients through interactive video communications for the entire day.
Consultations: Live video enables primary care providers to consult a medical specialist in different locations. Medical personnel can also discuss patients’ conditions without traveling. Doctors can examine patients in remote areas directly via video conferencing where there is a distance barrier. If you have limited mobility, you can receive healthcare services from your home. Video conferencing enable language translators to provide video interpretation services to multiple locations, enhancing cost-effective expansion in this program.
Health education: Live video allows medical personnel to hold education programs with attendees in different locations. You can also access critical health information through this technology.
Mobile health offers healthcare, public health, and education information via mobile communication devices such as cell phones, tablets, and computers. It is a new and rapidly evolving service of technology-enabled healthcare. Mobile health mainly uses dedicated application software that you download on your device. Healthcare providers can use this technology to send messages to many people to create health alerts such as disease outbreaks.
Telehealth has made treatment services easy, convenient, and efficient. With the developing technology in the medical field, telehealth can reach many people and handle various medical conditions. You can receive medical care at any time and location through telehealth programs.