What is Telehealth and How Can Telehealth Help Patients?
Technology and Communication have come a long way in the past 50 years. It only seems like yesterday when dial-up internet was the norm for households. Where computers needed a separate space to be operated, now you can carry a computer in the pocket of your jeans. With every industry excelling with the help of technology, it is no surprise that the health industry has also done the same. This new synergy of health and technology has come to be aptly known as Telehealth, and it is already taking the world by storm.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of technology and computer software for the purpose of facilitating people when it comes to health and welfare. Telehealth comes in many forms and is as simple as viewing your lab report online to as complex as getting a checkup done through a video conversation.
Telehealth works when hospitals and clinics shift some of their resources online. Patients can gain access to these portals with the help of the internet by either creating a specific account for themselves or by signing in as a guest, depending on the service providers’ respective requirements. Telehealth would then be able to assist patients and service providers by giving them the option to streamline and computerise their systems.
Different Forms of Telehealth:
The multiple forms of telehealth include Patient Portals, Virtual Consultation, Lab Reports, Information Management, and others.
Patient Portals allow patients to create specialised and separate accounts at a clinic or a hospital portal and view all of their information from these portals. These portals may allow you to communicate with the staff at your hospital, allowing you to maintain contact with your doctors and nurses. These portals may even allow you to request prescription refills, book labs, view lab reports, and even book consultations with your primary care physician or a specialist if needed. Patient portals may allow you to view the history of your previous appointments. This would help you, and your physician keep track.
Virtual Consultations are recently becoming very important due to the pandemic and the risk of infection of the coronavirus with increased interaction with people. Therefore, it might not be safe for someone to visit a hospital or a clinic during these times, especially if their health is already immunocompromised. Due to this, doctors and patients are inclining towards virtual consultations over physical consultations.
Lab Reports are now accessible online with the help of Telehealth. Patients no longer need to travel all the way back to the clinic just to get their lab reports. They will be shown on their patient portals. Patients can also book their lab tests from the patient portals, and if need be, they can also request technicians to come to their homes to get the lab tests done. This, however, applies to certain lab tests; others still need to be conducted in a proper clinic facility.
Other forms of telehealth include the health app on your phone that helps you keep track of your steps and your caloric intake. The results of this remote monitoring can also be shared with your physician, who can keep a general track of your health progress, which may prove to be especially useful if someone is recovering from a surgery or a fracture in one limb.
Advantages of Telehealth:
With almost all forms of technological advancements, there has been a fair share of benefits with Telehealth as well. Patient portals allow both patients and doctors to save time and resources. Patients would not have to spend their time travelling to hospitals and clinics to get the most basic of resources or to book their appointments with doctors. The ability to keep contact with one’s physician and nurse would allow them to receive medical advice as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the ability to get blood tests done at home and consultations being done virtually would allow people to maintain a safe distance in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Even generally, some patients may find it difficult to travel due to physical limitations, or they do not have the resources to travel to a doctor. This is particularly useful in the case when a specialist is not available in the local vicinity. Therefore, people living in slums or rural areas can now get excellent medical advice at a very low cost and with convenience.
Telehealth also makes it easier to get lab tests done without the need for a doctor’s note. This will save time for many patients and help resolve any concerns they might have.
Telehealth is also particularly useful in the case of psychology virtual consultations. As mental health issues are still a stigma in many parts of the world, many people are still unable to get a consultation. Virtual consultations will, therefore, allow people to get the help they need.
Moreover, telehealth has made it easier to shift from one doctor to another, especially in the case of shifting cities. Doctors will be able to maintain contact with one another, which can be especially useful in the case of a patient having a chronic disease.
It is quite clear that telehealth is the way of life now. Patients and hospital staff will be able to gain multiple advantages from these platforms. You can find the one that suits yours and your medical service provider’s needs. One such platform is Smart Clinix, which is perfectly capable of improving any of your medical related issues
Dr. Josh is a physician who's helping spread the knowledge about Telehealth and its advantages. At SmartClinix, he's providing his expertise and knowledge in the form of engaging articles on various health & tech related topics.