How Telehealth Trends Are Making Self-Care Easier
The world is rapidly become more interconnected, with huge implications for how healthcare is delivered. Technology has enabled patients to connect more easily and more quickly with providers and support groups that can address their health challenges. “Telehealth” is the term for healthcare delivered via telecommunication. Innovations have made healthcare more accessible to more people in several ways. Here are just a few of them.
For many people, geographic and economic limitations have historically made getting the care that they need more difficult. For example, rural people often find themselves hundreds of miles away from a medical facility. An article published in the Online Journal of Public Health Informatics found that, when properly implemented, telehealth can be the “most cost-effective and efficient solution for this rural community”.
Another barrier that patients often face is obtaining the necessary referrals needed to see specialists. This can be especially difficult for people who cannot easily visit a physician. Telehealth enables timelier referrals - and by extension, appointments - to patients who need them.
More Effective Patient Outreach
Carenet Health explains that telehealth helps providers identify and address treatment barriers and promote adherence to prescribed treatment regimens, including medications. When prescribed medication, for example, patients often require assistance dosing and administering it themselves. One example of this is a diabetic patient who needs the advice of a nurse practitioner in order to take their insulin. In situations like these, telehealth can provide the necessary resources to help patients safely take their medication. The same is true in many cases like traumatic injury care, physical rehabilitation, and addiction counseling.
In terms of care for chronic conditions, studies of telehealth programs have found that they offer the best benefit when they are utilized for communication and counseling or the remote monitoring of chronic conditions like heart disease or respiratory problems.
Multiple studies have shown the cost-effectiveness of telehealth. This is promising for the poor who experience financial difficulty affording necessary care. SSI points out that since traditional healthcare is getting more and more expensive, more are searching for alternatives. Well-structured telehealth programs that have been implemented in urban and rural areas in which large populations cannot traditionally afford care have shown significant savings for patients and higher rates of care.
Controlling medical costs, both for individuals and collectively, has become a major issue for public health officials across the globe. As a solution, technology like telemedicine is one of the best ways to reduce cost and increase access.
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