Telehealth is the act of receiving health-related services from a provider remotely through telecommunication technology. It can provide health assessments, diagnosis, intervention, and consultation without being face-to-face. Telehealth can either be delivered synchronously (i.e., when a doctor communicates with a patient in real-time), asynchronously (i.e., when data and images are shared with the doctor prior or post consultation), or simply to monitor specific health data from the patient. The rise of telehealth became more popular during the pandemic due to patients needing to receive care while reducing the spread of Covid 19. Today, telehealth continues to be prevalent in the healthcare industry and brings many benefits to patients and healthcare providers.
Increased Patient Utilization
Since the pandemic, telehealth consultations have increased. They are a more cost-effective first line of treatment for non-urgent and follow-up appointments. Patients have stated they are interested in the evolution of telehealth. The benefits of telehealth include prescription refills, reviewing test results, or preparing for an upcoming visit. Insurance companies and healthcare providers are working together to broaden the availability of telehealth appointments.
Integrated Data Sharing
Data sharing makes using services more convenient and useful. Telehealth apps are beginning to communicate with fitness apps to gather information on patients such as heart rate and step count. This information can assist healthcare professionals in identifying a patient’s current health. Integrated data sharing is driven by interoperability, which is the ability to access, integrate, and exchange data within and across different organizations. Telehealth systems that are interoperable can also interpret the data.
Convenient Remote Pediatric Care
While monitoring sick children is a difficult task, telehealth makes it more convenient and can lower the costs of high-quality care. The growth of pediatric telehealth is expected to be more widespread within the next few years. There has been an increase in telehealth services being directed toward younger generations, such as the development of virtual physiotherapy. This is due to newer generations, such as Gen Z, being more accustomed to virtual technology. These generations benefit from using telehealth because they grew up with technology such as smartphones and laptops, making telehealth a convenient healthcare service option.
Investments in Technology
Telehealth will continue to evolve thanks to further investments in technology. Due to the labor shortage of healthcare professionals, telehealth allows for less pressure on the workforce while delivering high-quality care.
The benefits of telehealth include convenient access for patients, reducing financial stress, and relieving pressure on the healthcare workforce, thereby improving public health. In fact, telehealth will continue to grow and be an essential component of the healthcare industry.
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