Telehealth and Telemedicine seem to be on everyone’s mind today. Despite their rise to prominence, very few people seem to understand what they mean, or how their healthcare organizations can leverage the shifting landscape. As innovators in healthcare technology, we wanted to clearly define the terms for you. Plus, if your patients have questions, you can point them here.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is a broad term that covers the delivery of medical, health, and education services through telecommunication technologies and tactics. This means that Telehealth isn’t simply a specific service with a defined output.
How does Telehealth work?
Telehealth allows providers to have a two-way, face-to-face conversation with their patient while guiding them through a physical examination. The provider may also be able to make some more informed health decisions after seeing elements of the patient’s environment. Smartphones, tablets, and even laptop computers enable this type of care.
When should Telehealth be used?
In most cases, Telehealth makes sense for the “low-hanging fruit”. After-hours urgent care or even office hours tend to address an immediate need for additional care. Some things, like chronic care or follow-up appointments, could benefit from Telehealth treatments. Telehealth is a great way to ensure care plan adherence.
How do Telehealth examinations work?
Telehealth is different, but the skills needed for evaluating patients typically transfer to the new modality. At least, when doing face-to-face video. It’s true that in-office visits have less limitations, but video is more robust than most realize. Video allows healthcare providers to assess visual cues on the overall appearance of the patient making a note if the patient might need in-person care. What makes the video examinations sometimes more effective than in-person care is the relaxed nature many patients often feel in their own home. Typically, this will lead them to opening up a bit more.
How do patients feel about Telehealth?
Patients love Telehealth. It is convenient, cost-effective, and high-tech. The improved access, combined with time and cost savings, means you will have many more happy patients. After-hours patients are used to long waits and poor experiences, but Telehealth changes all of the that. The improved experience results in much higher patient satisfaction which leads to better relationships between patient and provider.
Why should providers do Telehealth?
Patient interest in Telehealth is the most important reason to begin providing Telehealth services. Patients may look for providers that offer this service due to the efficient nature. The great value to patients also brings value to the providers in the form of flexible hour choice and enabling work outside the clinical setting. Telehealth also offers more touch points to ensure providers offer the best care, especially for those with chronic conditions.
Telehealth is an evolution for healthcare, but providers should embrace the change and rush to implement Telehealth programs for themselves. The rise of technology has made this possible, and the ability to improve patient satisfaction and outcomes cannot be overlooked. InteliChart is a leading innovator in healthcare technology, and we are working on some cool solutions for the future – perhaps our own Telehealth enablement solution? Time will tell. Subscribe to our email list to receive updates on the latest and greatest.
In Good Health