Healthcare providers are keen on bringing the costs down without downsizing the standard of patient care. Technology is useful when it is leveraged to deliver solutions that will improve the quality of the healthcare that is provided to the ever-increasing number of patients.
Telehealth is a delivery model of patient care that can permeate the barriers of time, location, and resource optimization. By leveraging telehealth technology the ability to lower healthcare costs through expedited delivery of patient care is enabled. It helps in cutting unnecessary spending that wastes resources.
Virtual care through telehealth platforms is expanding the horizons of the spectrum of services offered by hospitals and clinics and is fast becoming an essential part of the features that act as differentiators.
Importance of telehealth
Healthcare facilities that are still skeptical and uptight about embracing telehealth program initiatives, need to take a hard look at the opportunity cost of their inaction or delayed decisions. In a world where numerous hospitals are fast progressing towards managing patient expectations in handling technologies that allow virtual care, one has to improve their telehealth capabilities to be well-positioned in the system.
Hospitals that fail to meet these expectations will face stiff and rising competition from others who either adopted the change or are new entrants that don’t deter from disrupting the existing laggards and charging ahead for improved patient-provider relationships.
Technology advancements in telehealth
Digital tools and devices that are used in patient care delivery through the virtual medium are part of telehealth platforms. Computers, tablets, smartphones, Bluetooth, and RPM devices are used in virtual appointments and patient reviews. Information and communication are monitored and transferred without any commute from either the patient’s or the caregiver’s end. Everything is carried out through video and phone calls, emails, and messages.
Telehealth can involve sophisticated platforms that will record all the patient-caregiver touchpoints and the data is recorded on a real-time basis. It can also involve a simple video call between the clinician and the patient where the entire consultation can take using a smartphone.
As patient awareness is increasing and they read about the possible facilities that can help alleviate their pain in difficult health conditions, specifically when their mobility is restricted, they will prefer a sophisticated telehealth platform that will connect them with healthcare providers.
Features of advanced telehealth technologies
High-definition virtual visits
Hospitals can identify patients who need regular monitoring for their chronic health conditions. These patients will get tablets that can facilitate high-resolution images during video calls. This feature is necessary when any external or topical bruises need to be examined by the doctor or the nurse practitioner. A virtual appointment needs to cover all the checks that would have taken place in a normal in-person consultation. For this reason, telehealth programs that can take care of high-definition virtual visits will be advantageous over others.
Remote patient monitoring
Remote patient monitoring or RPM program design and management should transpire a seamless relay of the patient’s real-time physiological data that is related to their health condition. It has to mimic a portable telemetry device in terms of efficacy. Hence the sensors in the devices should pick up micro changes in the measurements and relay the same through a no-fail system at all times.
Engaged patients are aware of their progress and able to comprehend the implications of their lifestyles and practices that impact their outcomes. Positive patient outcomes are an important parameter to measure the successful implementation of any healthcare delivery modality.
When patients are using smart RPMs that scale their activity, they can see the results in the app that will give them data related to their activity and boost their motivation. This helps them stay focused and even alerts their next call for action like taking medicine or drinking enough water.
Technology in telehealth is already capturing the imagination of senior patients and Gen Z alike. However, super seniors who find it very difficult to hear or move will need some extra training and patience when they are adapting to their telehealth program features. Once they realize that sharing information with nurses and doctors virtually is as easy as clicking a button, they will be up for it.