Telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring: The Future of Care
In the wake of Covid-19, healthcare facilities were forced to re-evaluate how they delivered care, thrusting telehealth into the spotlight. And while it has its limitations, telehealth is making remarkable strides in the advancement of healthcare.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the delivery of care and health-related services using remote technology such as live video conferencing, mobile health applications, and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) that allows you to consult and monitor patients virtually.
What is Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)?
RPM makes it possible for healthcare professionals to remotely collect and analyze patient information using wearables, mobile devices, and computers. The patient's data is automatically transmitted to a health care provider, enabling them to review and identify health trends and follow up with the patient.
Benefits of Telehealth
Thanks to advances in technology, it is now possible to leverage our modern conveniences to find innovative ways of improving healthcare delivery.
Video and telephone consultations limit face-to-face contact with patients, thereby preventing the spread of germs and reducing the risk of infection for those with compromised immune systems.
One of the things that makes telehealth so great is its ability to support healthcare professionals who oftentimes must travel long distances at a moment's notice.
Telehealth enables life-saving care quickly and safely and provides patients with the convenience of being prescreened and treated from the comfort of their homes.
Access to Care
According to an article published by the American Nurses Association, 20% of Americans living in rural and remote settings don’t have access to adequate medical care, often leaving these communities untreated and at risk. Telehealth removes the obstacles that impede people from receiving care by providing equitable access to treatment.
Providers can increase their efficiency by scheduling patients who require more care in person while remotely consulting and mentoring other patients virtually.
Telehealth also has the potential to reduce hospital admissions, as it enables healthcare providers to prescreen patients, so they don't have to visit the ER as often, resulting in quicker, more efficient treatment for those who need it the most.
Patients using RPM devices become active participants in their care, as it requires them to understand their treatment plan and ask necessary questions.
Drawbacks of Telehealth
As with all good things, telehealth also has its drawbacks.
For example, technical issues, such as limited or unstable internet access, can affect healthcare providers' ability to deliver care.
The patient’s primary care provider may not have immediate access to a patient’s records if the patient connects with a random care provider through their telehealth network.
And since insurance coverage varies from state to state and from company to company, not every patient will be eligible to receive financial assistance. So, while telehealth is typically offered at a lower cost, those who aren’t covered by their insurance will have to pay the out-of-pocket expense.
Is Telehealth Right for You?
Healthcare, as we know it, is rapidly changing. In fact, according to research, the telehealth market is expected to grow from 38.7 billion in 2020 to 191.7 billion by 2025.
That’s a whopping 395% increase!
Technology and innovation create opportunities for healthcare providers to streamline their care processes and increase overall access to treatment.
Considering the ever-rising cost of healthcare, budget cuts, and critical workforce shortages, telehealth may just be the solution. So, while it may not replace traditional care delivery methods anytime soon, we believe it is the future.
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