Due to the need to control disease outbreaks and give health services to those in remote areas and the disabled, many health providers have opted to go digital and use telehealth to provide services to their patients. Telehealth allows long-distance contact between the doctor and the patient. Below are the types and advantages of telehealth.
Synchronous telehealth is telemedicine involving a patient and a health service provider interacting through live video conferencing through a two-way audiovisual link. The U.S. Department of veteran affairs states that synchronous telehealth is only possible when the patient and the care provider are present at the same time using a communication link that allows them to have real-time interaction. The care provider uses special equipment like an electronic stethoscope operated by a nurse through the doctor’s guidance to perform a physical health examination.
Advantages of synchronous telehealth
- It provides timely health, especially during emergencies and urgent situations.
- It helps maintain the doctor-patient relationship by allowing face-to-face analysis and treatment.
- It will enable the doctor to conduct a physical examination and engage in a conversation without meeting the patient physically.
Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is a health care delivery process that uses technology to monitor people not within reach of physical health services. It involves the electronic transmission of information between a patient and the doctor. The monitoring process only requires technological equipment like a digital blood pressure monitor to collect and interpret the physiologic data from which the doctor analyzes the patient’s health condition.
Advantages of remote patient monitoring
- It helps patients to improve on self-management of their health conditions
- It is cost-effective for both the patients and the care provider.
- It allows the care provider to understand the change and development of symptoms and alter the treatment plan accordingly.
Store and forward telehealth
This type of telemedicine is also known as asynchronous telehealth. It transmits the patient’s medical history and clinical data to a health care provider through lab test reports, MRIs, and x-ray images. Unlike synchronous telehealth, asynchronous telemedicine does not have a patient-doctor interaction in real-time; instead involves transferring patients’ data to the doctor to be reviewed later.
- It allows maximum utilization of health care resources.
- It allows health care providers to make informed decisions about the patients’ health conditions after analyzing their data.
- Reduces time wasted on wait times for in-person appointments.
Mobile health involves using smart devices like smartphones and tablets to monitor and collect a person’s health data and mobile apps that encourage healthier lifestyles. Wearable devices like iWatch can monitor a person’s pulse, heart, and blood sugar levels.
- Allows patients to access health care services faster
- It makes Remote Patient Monitoring easy and possible
- Mobile health is available in many different applications
Telemedicine has provided access to health care services to people who could not access them without having to leave their homes. Telehealth has brought a solution to urgent health situations through electronic access to fast and reliable health care services.