New and improved healthcare technology is transforming the way the industry operates. With these changes comes plenty of advancements in patient care and other health-related services. Telehealth is a product of innovation within healthcare technology that has supported health information communication and telemedicine. These health-related digital services have significantly altered the way we can approach healthcare. Let’s explore what telehealth encompasses and the impact it has on our current healthcare system.
According to the Health Resources Services Administration, they define telehealth as “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.” Therefore, telehealth encompasses using a variety of communications technology to facilitate and support health-related activities. A few of the technologies used include the internet, video streaming, videoconferencing, direct messaging, and data gathering.
Difference from Telemedicine
You’ve probably heard of the term “telemedicine” and wonder what the difference between that and telehealth is. Simply put, telehealth refers to the broader scope of remote (and usually digital) healthcare services. Telemedicine more directly concerns clinical services, like e-prescribing medication and patient-physician messaging. Whereas telemedicine handles the remote diagnosis and treatment of patient health, telehealth includes those clinical services and non-clinical services. Examples include providing continuing education to medical professionals, supporting administrative tasks, distributing public health information media, and handling patient requests and actions via online portals.
Impact and Improvements
The most significant implication of telehealth healthcare technology is the delivery of both clinical and non-clinical services, all done remotely. The prospect of delivering these various health services by digital means helps address the industry’s most pervasive problems. For starters, remote healthcare means more patients can have access to quality healthcare. Therefore, physicians and specialists can better get in contact with and service patients. Rural facilities or rural patients can easily connect with others. Locational challenges, such as staff shortages and poor distribution of healthcare providers, are remedied by remote servicing capabilities.
Another improvement telehealth has created better health outcomes for patients. Personal devices that monitor and report vitals and patient conditions have made it faster and easier to diagnose and treat health problems. In addition to more effective treatment, patients experience fewer complications and reduced hospital stays.
Further, telehealth greatly supports administrative efficiencies. The technology enables patients to review test results, find further resources, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and more. With telehealth supporting organizational efforts by handling these routine actions, on top of allowing administrative staff to work remotely, overall productivity is improved.
Healthcare IT Services and Solutions from Audley Consulting Group
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