Applications Of Telehealth In The Provision Of Healthcare Services

By Ruth Hill

The world today is run by telecommunication systems which continue to get advanced by the day. Healthcare service providers can leverage on this technology to make their services accessible to more people. Telehealth, as It is popularly know, is an emerging concept in health services provision. It encompasses a wide range of services including health education, consultation and treatment of various medical conditions. It is also termed e-health or electronic health.

One of the major factors that have driven healthcare in this direction is the advancement that has been seen in the technology field. Movement of information is now seamless thanks to the internet and the telephone. By taking advantage of this, doctors and patients have found it a lot easier to exchange information. Better drugs have been developed and many of them can be tolerated by a patient at home hence no need for hospital admissions.

The management of chronic conditions is perhaps one area that has benefited the most after a significant number of physicians adopted the technology. Persons suffering from conditions such as heart failure, asthma, hypertension and diabetes often have to make regular trips to their physicians for check up and continuation or change of medication. This is both exhausting and expensive. This technology has made it possible to do all this remotely.

Doctors often have to consult with each other in the course of discharging their duties. Teleconferencing allows them to deliberate on certain challenging cases as a team even when they are not in the same geographical location. The history and physical findings can be shared among several experts and a solution can be reached faster than waiting for everyone to be in direct contact with the patient.

Registered nurses have also taken advantage of this technological advancement and are now engaging in what is known as telenursing. This is a system of nursing where a registered nurse provides their services without being physically present. This system has been quite helpful for patients with chronic conditions in remote locations who for one reason or another are living alone. It is a cheaper option as compared to the traditional form of home based care.

Just as happened in many other industries, technology has been a major disruption in healthcare. Disruptions everywhere tend to face a lot of resistance. Some doctors of older generations initially showed resistance for a number of reasons. One of them was the fact that they had to shift from using print to computers and this required them to learn new skills. Others simply feared that they would lose their jobs.

Patients have had fewer problems making adjustments. A few, however, have some reservations. One area that has been troubling this group is the issue of privacy. They have been worried that information considered to be private and confidential may find itself in the wrong hands. This has turned out not to be as easy as was thought initially due to the use of multilevel security systems.

The use of technology in medicine is here to stay. The advantages have significantly outweighed the downsides and many people are coming on board. It appears as though most people will have most of their health needs addressed just at the touch of a button. Of course, this is with the exception of surgical interventions which require direct contact with the doctor.

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