Telehealth: Technology meets healthcare demands

achamila press : dr.mohammed AlRefaei Minister of Health Kingdom of New Atlantis

Learn how technology can improve your health care.

How many times have you heard it said that the Internet has completely changed modern life? It may have really changed the way you stay in touch with family and friends, the way you buy goods and get services, and even look for information about health issues.

There are many ways to provide health services through communication technologies to help you control the health care you receive and get the services you need. Do you take advantage of it?

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies such as computers and mobile devices to access telehealth services and manage your healthcare. They may be techniques you use from home or your doctor uses to improve or support health care services.

Consider, for example, the ways telehealth can help you if you have diabetes. You can do some or all of the following:

Use a mobile phone or other device to upload records of food, medication, doses and blood sugar levels for review by an electronically contactable nurse.Watch a video of how to calculate carbohydrates and download a mobile app to do this.Use the same software to estimate how much insulin you need based on your diet and your level of physical activity Use the online patient portal to see test results, make appointments, request a prescription refill or email your doctor. Order test kits and medications online. Undergo a retinal exam at your doctor’s office instead of making an appointment with a specialist. Receive a message An email, text message, or phone notification reminding you of the need to get a flu shot, a foot test, or other preventative care.

Telecare goals, also known as e-health or mobile health, include:

Making health care available for people living in rural or isolated communities Providing services more easily or conveniently to people with limited mobility, time, or transportation options Providing access to medical professionals Improving communication and coordination of care between health care team members and patients. Provide support for health care self-management.

The following examples of telehealth services may be useful to your health care.

patient portal

The primary care clinic that follows your case may provide an online patient portal. These portals serve as an alternative to email, which is a generally unsecure way to communicate private medical information. The portal provides a safer online tool to do the following:

Contact your doctor or nurse.Order additional refills of your prescription.Review test results and summaries of previous visits.Schedule medical appointments or request appointment reminders.

If your doctor is part of a large healthcare system, the portal may also provide a single point of contact for any specialists of your choice.

Virtual appointments

Some clinics can offer virtual appointments where you can meet with your doctor or nurse via online video conferencing. These appointments enable you to receive ongoing care from your regular doctor when an in-person visit is not required or possible.

Other virtual appointments include web-based “visits” with a doctor or nurse practitioner. These services are generally reserved for minor ailments, and are similar to the services provided by rapid detection clinics. There are also some large companies that provide access to virtual doctors’ clinics as part of their healthcare offerings.

When you sign in to a web-based service, you are guided through a series of questions. A doctor or nurse practitioner can prescribe medications, suggest home care strategies or recommend additional medical care.

Likewise in a call center operated by a nursing staff, nurses serve patients by phone by answering their questions and providing advice for care at home. But the call center does not diagnose any disease or prescribe any medications.

Despite the convenience that these services may provide, they have disadvantages such as:

Treatment may not be coordinated with your regular doctor. Basic information from your medical history may not be considered. A computer-based decision-making model may not be most appropriate if you have a complex medical history. Virtual visits lack in-person examination, which Accurate diagnosis may be hampered. The service does not provide ease for the doctor to share his decision with the patient about treatment methods or the possibility of replacing the basic plan with another if it does not provide the desired benefit.

remote monitoring

Several technologies enable your doctor or health care team to monitor your health remotely. These technologies include the following:

Mobile or web-based applications that upload information, such as a blood glucose reading, to your doctor or health care team Devices that measure and wirelessly transmit information, such as blood pressure, blood glucose, or lung function Wearable devices that automatically record and send information, such as your speed Heart, blood glucose, walking, posture adjustments, tremors, physical activities, or sleep patterns Home monitors for older adults or people with dementia that detect a change in normal activities such as falls

Doctors communicate with each other

Physicians can also benefit from technology to provide better care to their patients. An example is a virtual consultation that allows primary care physicians to obtain information from specialists when they have questions about your diagnosis or treatment.

The primary care doctor sends exam notes, medical history, test results, X-rays or other imaging tests to the specialist for review. The specialist may respond electronically, make a virtual appointment with you at the doctor’s office, or request a face-to-face meeting.

Thanks to these virtual consultations, unnecessary personal referrals to the specialist can be dispensed with, as well as reducing waiting times for a specialist’s response, and avoiding the burden of undue travel.

personal health records

Often called a “PHR” system, an electronic personal health record system is a set of information about your health that you can control and maintain. The PHR application can be accessed at any time via an internet-connected device, such as a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone.

In the event of an emergency, a personal health record can quickly provide vital information to emergency personnel, such as current diagnoses, medications, allergies, and contact information for your doctor.

personal health apps

Many applications are designed to help consumers better organize medical information in one secure place. These digital tools can help you:

Storing personal health information Recording vital signs Calculating and recording calories consumed Scheduling medication-related reminders Recording physical activities such as daily steps

The possibility of telehealth

Technology facilitates the ability to improve the quality of health care and make it easier for more people to access it. Telehealth can provide opportunities to make healthcare more efficient, better coordinated, and closer to home.

Telehealth is still a relatively new research topic, but it is growing day by day. For example, studies have shown that telephone support and remote monitoring of vital signs in cases of people with heart failure have reduced the risk of death and hospitalization for heart failure patients, and improved their quality of life.

Telehealth restrictions

Although more coordinated care is possible in the case of telehealth, it has the risks of fragmented health care. Fragmented health care may lead to gaps in care, excessive use of medical care, inappropriate use of medications, or unnecessary or overlapping care.

The potential benefits of telehealth services may be limited by other factors such as the ability to pay for them. Reimbursement for telehealth still varies by insurance status and type. The number of people who can best benefit from this type of care may be limited by the degree of internet availability in the area or the cost of mobile devices.

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