Technology and Communications has 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 their own rooms in order to operate. 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. This process would depend on the service provider. 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 includes 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. They can view all of their information from those portals. These portals may allow you to communicate with the staff at your hospital, allowing you to maintain a contact with your doctors and nurses. These portals may even allow you to request for 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 preferring virtual consultations over physical consultations.
Lab Reports can now be accessed online with the help of Telehealth. Patients no longer have the need to travel all the way back to the clinic to just 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 the need be they can also request technicians to come to their homes in order to get the lab tests done. This however applies for some lab tests, others still need to be conducted in a proper clinic facility.
Other forms of telehealth also 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 then keep a general track on 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 advancement there have been a fair share of advantages and benefits. Patient portals allow both patients and doctors to save their time and resources. Patients would not have to spend their time travelling to hospitals and clinics for getting the most basic of resources or for booking their appointments with doctors. The ability to keep a contact with one’s physician and nurse would allow them to receive medical advice as soon as possible.
Furthermore, the ability of getting blood tests done at home and consultations being done virtually would allow for 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 the 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 a contact with one another which can be especially useful in the case of a patient having a chronic disease.
It is 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 providers needs. One such platform is Smart Clinix, which will be able to improve your medical related issues.