You may know telehealth from your daily life: messaging with your doctor, video conference mental health sessions, and public health broadcast text messages. During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth modalities became more prominent. Yet, state and federal laws, reimbursement policies, and regulations remain confusing. CCHP offers state-by-state information on current laws and policies, including telehealth parity laws.
Telehealth Care uses remote technology to provide health care services, including videoconferencing and electronic data transmissions such as digital images or voice. It is used to connect patients with physicians or allied health practitioners for consultations, monitor patient data remotely, and to provide specialized education for consumers and providers.
There are several benefits for patients, physicians and payers when using telehealth. They include convenience for the patient, improved worker productivity due to not having to leave work for in-person appointments, decreased costs and clinician time savings and the ability to diagnose or treat a health issue without a physical exam. It also allows for more comprehensive medical treatments and fewer in-person office visits. However, it is important to note that telehealth can still require an office visit for some services, such as lab tests or imaging.
Many people have a perception that telehealth is only for quick health checkups and to get a prescription refill, but it can actually be used for a wide range of conditions, including migraines, ADHD, and diabetes. It can also be used for ongoing treatment, such as psychotherapy or physical therapy.
A major benefit of telehealth for patients is that they can be seen more quickly than if they went to an office, which is particularly helpful during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients can simply download an app or call a telehealth number, and be connected to a provider who will evaluate their symptoms, recommend any over-the-counter or prescription medications and schedule a follow-up appointment.
The most common use of telehealth is for routine care, such as prescribing medication or answering simple questions that can be answered in a few minutes. This is especially valuable for patients who have chronic health issues like high blood pressure or diabetes and need regular check-ups to ensure their medications are working. It is also helpful for follow-up visits after surgery or treatment, as it can be done more quickly and easily than traveling to an office.
Another advantage of telehealth for doctors and allied health practitioners is that it can allow them to consult with each other more easily. It can also make it easier to get a second opinion on difficult cases or for patients who do not have access to specialists.
Teleconsultations are virtual consultations between healthcare professionals and patients using a secure ICT solution. They can be conducted either between a single healthcare professional and a patient or between two healthcare providers (e.g., a GP and a hospital consultant). These consultations allow patients to benefit from medical advice without having to leave their homes.
The benefits of telehealth are obvious: patients can stay in their home, avoid commuting, and save money. Both large healthcare systems and small independent practices can use this technology. It can be used to monitor diabetes or hypertension, provide mental health services like teletherapy, and offer real-time virtual visits through videoconferencing software.
Until the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth was limited in most OECD countries and was often not well-used by both patients and clinicians. But the pandemic created an opportunity to expand the use of this technology. The COVID-19 outbreak has also led to a shift in policy, with 23 OECD countries now allowing healthcare workers other than doctors to perform teleconsultations.
This qualitative study explores physicians’ and patients’ experiences of teleconsultations between primary care and a referral cardiology department. To do so, lists of patients who had undergone teleconsultations were obtained from each department, and five patients were interviewed in person. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. The data were analysed to examine participants’ perceptions of the implementation process and how it could be improved.
Patients were largely positive about their experience of teleconsultations, which they found convenient and private. They particularly appreciated the length of the teleconsultation and the advice they received from the physician. In addition, they found the teleconsultation easy to schedule and manage. However, a number of challenges were identified. These included the need to improve audio quality, network connectivity, and diagnosis and investigations. Some patients also complained about the difficulty of interpreting the doctor’s advice. Despite these challenges, most patients felt that teleconsultations made healthcare easier during the pandemic. They were also reassured that they did not need to visit the hospital or meet with their PCP.
Telepharmacy is a new and exciting way for pharmacists to work with patients. It can be used to improve patient outcomes, increase patient safety, and decrease costs. It also allows patients to connect with their pharmacists remotely and receive expert advice and support. Telepharmacy is an excellent option for patients who live in rural areas or who have difficulty traveling to the hospital. It can also save time and money by eliminating the need to commute.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, pharmacists faced many challenges that made telehealth an attractive solution. Among these were the logistical complications of required social distancing, reduced staffing, and the transition to remote work. Additionally, the public health emergency accelerated changes that would make telehealth more reasonable for pharmacies to implement.
One example of a telepharmacy initiative was at a hospital in Cranbrook, Canada. This telepharmacy program was started to address the shortage of pharmacy specialists and to help people who could not afford to travel to a nearby city for medical care. Patients whose underlying medical conditions put them at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19 were able to meet with a pharmacist through a video conference system. This allowed them to get the medication they needed without increasing their risk of exposure to others.
The telepharmacy program was a success and was adopted by other hospitals. However, it is important to note that telepharmacy programs are not suitable for all patients. For example, virtual consultations are not recommended for elderly or low-risk patients who may have cognitive impairment or memory problems. Additionally, patients must be able to consent to this type of appointment.
Another advantage of telepharmacy is that it can help to reduce medication errors and adverse drug events. In addition, it can also encourage patients to follow their doctor’s orders and avoid missed doses. Moreover, it can also save money by decreasing the cost of medications and transportation costs. In addition, telepharmacy can also decrease the number of hospital readmissions and improve patient satisfaction. Moreover, it can also reduce the need for expensive diagnostic tests.
Remote monitoring is a form of telehealth that allows patients to stay at home while medical professionals monitor and adjust treatment plans remotely. Using digital technology, health data is collected from digitally-enabled devices (such as weight scales, blood pressure monitors, and pulse oximeters), then uploaded for analysis and communication with healthcare providers in another location.
This form of telehealth helps combat the physician shortage by providing additional care delivery without sacrificing patient access to medical staff. By allowing healthcare teams to monitor and evaluate patients outside of the traditional office setting, physicians can spend less time preparing for and attending in-person visits, and more time analyzing patient data.
The result is a more comprehensive understanding of patient health and wellness, which can help to improve outcomes and drive efficiency in healthcare. Moreover, remote monitoring provides an opportunity for patients and healthcare providers to communicate more frequently, which in turn increases patient engagement. In addition to providing patients with a more personalized, proactive approach to their healthcare, remote monitoring can also reduce hospital readmissions, which in turn leads to lower costs for hospitals and other stakeholders in the healthcare system.
One of the best ways to make your telehealth program successful is by choosing an expert vendor that can provide you with both operational and technical support. A vendor that offers user-friendly tools, device education, and ongoing support can ease the transition for reluctant adopters and ensure success. Call 4 Health is a leading telehealth solutions provider, offering professional medical answering and nurse triage services along with a variety of other remote monitoring tools.
With looming physician shortages and COVID-19 restrictions on in-person appointments, it’s more important than ever to find innovative ways to deliver quality care for your patients. Luckily, remote monitoring is an easy and effective way to do just that. Interested in learning more about telehealth? Download our free telehealth guide to learn more about how remote monitoring can benefit your patients and your bottom line.