Telehealth is nothing new. It was first studied back in 1994, but resulted in very little interest by the healthcare communities. But times have changed and with the pressures to provide preventative health, remote monitoring, reducing reemission rates, consolidation of services and implementation of electronic health record, the time has arrived for telehealth.
Telehealth is a broad range of services including telemedicine (diagnosis and treatment of illness or injury), monitoring, communication, and education (including preventive health initiatives). The underlying common thread is the delivery of medical care through digital technology. Telehealth medical services are delivered in three main ways:
- Video conferencing, which is used for real-time consultations in the form of patient-provider or provider-to-provider discussions. In addition, peripheral devices can be added to aid in interactive examinations.
- Remote patient monitoring, in which patient health information is transmitted to the healthcare care provider through electronic devices. These devices can remotely monitor all patient vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose, just to name a few.
- Store & forward technologies, which electronically transmit pre-recorded videos and digital images, such as X-rays, video clips and photos, between primary care providers and medical specialists.
Although the upfront cost of this technology may seem prohibitive, these tools can improve health outcomes, access to care, as well as to make health care delivery systems more efficient and cost-effective.
The public and professional adoption of telehealth is leaving many healthcare providers scrambling. I am challenging you to add telehealth solutions into your healthcare offering. These specialized solutions will be a “door-opener” and will distinguish your company from your competition. Telehealth is here to stay and your healthcare customers are looking for solutions, so you should be the one to provide it.