Telehealth is a broad range of technologies and services that provide patient care and improve the healthcare delivery system as a whole. According to the WHO, Telehealth includes "surveillance, health promotion, and public health functions." The primary purpose of Telehealth is to provide care and services without having to meet in person.
Here are some examples of Telehealth services, according to the CDC:
- Screening patients
- Providing low-risk urgent care and identifying those persons who may need additional medical consultation or assessment
- Communication with primary care providers and specialists for chronic health conditions and medication management
- Providing support for patients managing chronic health conditions, including nutrition counseling and weight management
- Participation in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other modalities as a hybrid approach to in-person care
- Monitoring clinical signs of chronic medical conditions, such as blood pressure, and other remote assessments
- Providing case management for patients who have difficulty accessing care, such as those who live in distant rural settings, older adults, and those with limited mobility
- Following up with patients post-hospitalization
- Assisting in advance care planning and counseling
- Providing non-emergent care to patients in long-term care facilities
Telehealth vs. Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a subset of Telehealth that refers specifically to the provision of healthcare services and education over a distance, using telecommunications technology. Telemedicine uses software and electronic communications to provide clinical services to patients without in-person visits. Telehealth refers to a broader scope of remote healthcare services. While telemedicine refers to remote clinical services specifically, Telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical health services, such as administrative meetings, provider training, and continuing medical education, in addition to clinical services. In short, all telemedicine is Telehealth, but not all Telehealth is telemedicine. Both systems are part of a larger effort to expand access to care, make health management easier for patients, and improve the healthcare delivery network's efficiency.
Telehealth enables video or phone appointments between a patient and their health care practitioner. This method of healthcare is beneficial to both health and convenience. Improved technology has made telemedicine much more manageable, even for those who don't consider themselves computer savvy. Patients can use telemedicine through a Telehealth app, such as HealthiestYou, and request a virtual visit with their doctor, practitioner, or therapist.
Here are some of the many advantages of Telehealth:
Convenience and Comfort
With telemedicine appointments, you don't have to drive to the doctor's office or sit in a waiting room for prolonged periods. You can see a doctor from the comfort of your home, or wherever is most convenient. Virtual visits can be much easier to fit into your busy schedule. You may not even have to take time off from work or arrange for child care.
An excellent example of convenient Telehealth technology is HealthiestYou. With a HealthiestYou membership, you can receive a consultation with a general practice doctor 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the phone or via the mobile app. You can also compare prices and save money on prescriptions, shop and price procedures, locate providers, and access all your health information in one place. A HealthiestYou membership costs only $20 a month for the whole family. Contact Brenda Williams to get started.
Reduced Strain on Hospitals
Telehealth services can reduce the strain on doctors' offices, hospitals, and other healthcare systems by minimizing the surge of patient demand on facilities. Telehealth can also reduce the use of PPE by healthcare providers.
Control of Infectious Illnesses
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, doctors use Telehealth appointments to prescreen patients for possible infectious illness. This also saves sick people from having to come into the office. Less exposure to other people's germs is helpful to everyone, especially those who are chronically ill, elderly, pregnant, or immunocompromised.
Telemedicine gives some specialty practitioners an advantage because they can see your home environment. For example, they may be able to identify clues in your surroundings that are causing allergies. Neurologists and physical therapists can observe you and assess your ability to navigate and take care of yourself in your home. Telemedicine is also a great way to get a mental health assessment and counseling.
When consulting with your doctor, it's good to have a family member who can help you provide relevant information, ask questions, and take notes on your doctor's answers. If that person does not live nearby, telemedicine can include your family member on your virtual visits if you authorize it.
Primary Care and Chronic Condition Management
Maintaining continuity of care as much as possible can help you avoid additional negative consequences from delayed preventive, chronic, or routine care. Telehealth offers remote access to healthcare services, which may increase participation for those who are medically or socially vulnerable or who do not have ready access to providers. Simply put, Telehealth makes access to healthcare easier. If you have any further questions on how to utilize Telehealth to your advantage or if you would like to sign up for a HealthiestYou membership, give Brenda Williams a call today.