What is Telehealth Technology?
People often use the term “telehealth” interchangeably with “telemedicine,” but telehealth doesn’t always provide the same clinical services. Telehealth often refers to patient education resources, mobile apps, and other tools that engage people in their healthcare. Telemedicine is usually remote treatment by primary care providers or specialists. Telehealth may also refer to the sharing of digital images for a diagnosis, like x-rays and CT scans or pictures of skin lesions.
Patients with chronic conditions benefit from using telehealth technology to monitor their vital signs and gauge effectiveness of treatment plans. Often, telehealth devices connect to medical practices or hospitals via the Internet, which allows medical professionals to catch a drastic bodily change early on. This telehealth technology makes quick treatment easy, and can prevent a medical situation from escalating. This type of monitoring is especially helpful for diabetic patients. In a recent report the National Institute of Health found that 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, have some form of diabetes. That’s just one population that can benefit from widespread telehealth use!
Consumers find telehealth services valuable and convenient to have in the home. Here are just a few of the distinct benefits telehealth brings to patients and healthcare providers.
Health And Wellness
Diet and exercise are key for when people want to get into shape, but it can be difficult for patients to stick with healthy living plans, and even harder for physicians to help enforce wellness guidelines. Today, mobile apps allow users to find appropriate exercises for their needs, perform and document the exercises, and even submit the record to their physician. F00d logging apps let doctors review patients’ diets and understand what effects they may be having on symptoms.
Medical adherence often relies on convenience. If a treatment plan can’t fit into a patient’s lifestyle, it may be partially completed or abandoned totally. Since telehealth technology is typically easy to travel with, patients can travel while still connected to their health networks. That constant line of communication helps to keep patients accountable for their own health. Additionally, secure cloud storage lets doctors and patients share information from anywhere, so patients can quickly receive advice from their physicians even when on the road.
Social networks also contribute to medical adherence and treatment accountability. Some health apps have built-in networking features that pit users against one another in fitness challenges, or which offer message boards that act as support groups for users. Some medication adherence apps automatically contact members of a user’s social network if a dosage is missed.
Interconnectivity is constantly becoming more crucial to health, and in turn, patients have more autonomy over their health decisions than ever. Telehealth literally puts a patient’s wellness into the palms of their hands. Empower your own patients with telehealth: try recommending mobile apps or educational tools via your patient portal.