Posted: August 16, 2021
Hospitals have had to reimagine how to provide essential care services during the pandemic, without increasing the risk of transmission. Telehealth allows many non-emergency services to be rendered remotely, so in-person healthcare visits can be reserved for when they’re strictly necessary.
Using technology to provide virtual care has implications beyond the pandemic. Telehealth has been called the future of medicine as it addresses many other accessibility barriers that prevent patients from receiving care.
In this article, we’ll explore the types of telehealth applications used by hospitals and how the use of technology is transforming access to essential health services for patients across the industry.
There are three main categories that encompass the ways hospitals use telehealth technology.
Synchronous includes any telehealth interactions that happen in real-time. Such interactions can be as simple as a telephone call between the patient and their provider, or a more sophisticated audio-visual conversation assisted by telehealth conferencing software. An in-person healthcare provider can use telehealth peripheral equipment to collect data for the remote specialist who can then analyze it immediately.
As you may guess, asynchronous describes the opposite approach. Messages, images, and other data are collected and stored to be sent over a HIPAA secure software network for later interpretation. Patient portals are an example of this. Patients can send secure updates and questions through the portal and receive information from their doctor.
Remote patient monitoring refers to a provider’s ability to collect clinical measurements remotely, even while the patient is at home, often through the use of wearable devices. This information can be reviewed and interpreted in real time or after the fact.
Here are some of the potential applications of telehealth technology for addressing patient needs during and beyond the pandemic.
Remote communication is a vital tool for limiting the transmission of infectious disease. Important determinations can be made right at the front door instead of leading a patient through multiple rooms and layers of personnel before assessing their condition.
Once patients have been determined to have a non-COVID-19 condition, they can be referred to the right specialized care much more quickly and efficiently.
Removing accessibility barriers allows more patients to engage with routine care services. Establishing a relationship with their primary care physician is the first step toward better preventative outcomes for your patients.
Telehealth helps to connect nutritionists, behavioral and mental health specialists, and other licensed professionals with their patients. When patients are engaged more casually and regularly, they tend to take a larger role in their own care.
Using a hybrid approach to physical and occupational therapy allows patients to benefit from the guidance of their therapist anywhere with an internet connection. The inability to meet in person doesn’t have to put a patient’s recovery on pause.
Patients that live in rural areas, are elderly, or have difficulty traveling due to mobility issues stand to benefit most from remote health care options.
Telehealth provides an important lifeline to chronically understaffed long-term care facilities. On-call doctors no longer have to be strictly relied upon and many conditions that would previously require hospitalization can be managed at the facility.
Let’s Talk Interactive has the tools to future-proof your facility by allowing you to offer quality care wherever and whenever it's needed. Contact us today to get started.