Many different aspects of our lives have been massively affected by the expansion of technology. We can now communicate easier with each other, order items and food, and even attend medical appointments without having to leave the house.
It is a commonly known fact that the healthcare industry is constantly struggling with high demand from individuals needing to be seen by a professional for different medical reasons. This is where telehealth comes in – this is a combination of technology and medical care, which essentially entails the use of technological devices, such as computers or a phone, in order to access medical support. In this article, we will advise you of what you should know about telehealth.
What is Telehealth?
As we mentioned previously, telehealth involves the use of technology as a way to simplify the way you access medical support and manage your healthcare. Some of the things telehealth has enabled us to achieve include using smart devices to upload information about our diet, medications, and blood sugar levels, which allows health professionals to review and respond digitally, the ability for patients to manage their prescriptions and healthcare appointments online, and have remote appointments over the phone or video call with your health professional. This has significantly influenced the delivery of healthcare, particularly to those patients with mobility issues who find it difficult to leave their homes or those in rural areas who do not have easy access to their doctors.
Accessing medical care remotely may be a confusing experience for some people, particularly those elderly who are not used to technology. However, the system was designed to be simple and accessible to everyone. When you use telehealth, you will have access to an online patient portal where you can access all of your information, communicate with a range of health professionals, manage and request your prescriptions and appointments. All of your information will be securely stored in this database.
As we mentioned above, telehealth consists of remote appointments, therefore you will be communicating with your doctor or nurse via video conferencing or audio calls. This is the factor that concerns people the most about virtual appointments as patients often feel that they are not able to get the personal feeling and experience remotely that they would get from a face to face consultation. The folks at myhealth1st.com.au suggest that remote appointments are ideal for those that are at a long distance from doctor surgeries and hospitals and for minor health conditions. Evidently, discussing health issues and your health history can be a difficult thing to do, but telehealth doctors are trained to deliver great service remotely to make you feel comfortable and at ease.
Telehealth is much more than just having virtual appointments with your health professional. This has made monitoring of your health much simpler as well. For example, technology has made possible for you to upload information about your health, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, there are equipment tools that measure and transmit information like blood glucose, lung function, tremors, heart rate, and even sleep patterns, and monitoring devices elderly people can use at home that detects changes in ordinary activities. This goes to show how massive the impact of technology is when providing the best health care to patients even when they are out of health and social care settings.
Specialist Medical Opinion
Technology has not only made healthcare easier for patients, but it can also increase the quality of the service provided by doctors as they can communicate with each other much easier. We know that no doctor knows absolutely everything, and it is always good practice to ask for a second opinion when they are uncertain of something or simply refer you to a specialist. With the use of technology, doctors can quickly achieve this by providing other specialists with your medical history and exam notes, and test results for further review. The specialist can then either provide their diagnosis or schedule a remote appointment with yourself. This makes the process much quicker and patients’ diagnosis and treatment are not as delayed.
The Limitations of Telehealth
Evidently, there are many benefits to using telehealth, but there will also be some drawbacks to using this system in the healthcare industry. One of the main ones we already mentioned above, is the lack of personal feeling patients may get from attending a remote appointment rather than seeing a doctor or nurse face to face – it can be quite awkward to discuss certain health issues over the phone. Additionally, not everyone will feel that they can use technological devices and this may hinder their ability to seek medical support. Finally, it may difficult for doctors to obtain a fair and accurate diagnosis by solely assessing the patient over the phone.
Telehealth has greatly benefited the medical industry, as it makes the process of accessing information and even getting a medical consultation much easier. However, it is important that this system is used wisely, and as a way to support standard medical practices, rather than replace it completely.