Advanced technology has been revolutionizing the way we do things. From smart homes to remote work to healthcare. The arrival of telehealth has been a welcome tool during these social distancing days. Just like the smartphone changed the way we connect and communicate, so telehealth is altering how we get our medical care.
What is Telehealth
Essentially, telehealth is when a patient uses a digital device like a laptop, tablet or mobile phone to communicate with a healthcare provider or manage their health remotely. It is a broad term that can include a variety of things such as:
- Virtual visit with a doctor
- Using apps to manage your health condition. For example, if you are diabetic, you can use apps to estimate the amount of insulin you will need.
- Patient portals that give you access to your test results
- Set reminders in your device that signal when you need preventative care such as immunizations, exams, etc.
Telehealth has been designed to improve the health of patients in a number of ways, including:
- Accessibility to patients in remote communities
- Services for those with limited mobility
- Coordination among members of a healthcare team
- Supportive self-care for patients
As technology continues to develop, it is likely that telehealth services for patients will also expand.
Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth services were already gaining attention prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but with most of the world in isolation, the benefits of telehealth have become even more apparent.
- Remote access – for those who struggle to leave their homes or who are sheltering in place, telehealth connects you with medical care and attention. This can include discussing recent symptoms with your physician, checking in with a nurse who is monitoring your condition and more. Through telehealth, you can also upload information for your healthcare providers who are monitoring your condition. This can include blood glucose readings for those with diabetes or blood pressure for patients with this ailment.
- No waiting – with telehealth services you won’t have to spend hours waiting in a doctor’s office or hospital for care. Simply, set your meeting time and connect online when the time comes. It is important to be considerate and remember that physicians are busy so try not to keep them waiting.
- Variety of services – telehealth services are more than just virtual meetings with doctors. Through patient portals, you are able to get test results, schedule appointments and request prescription refills. You can also see a specialist that can help you manage your condition.
- Information – telehealth can also be a source of trusted information. For example, if you are a parent of an infant who has a fever, you can reach a nursing call center to find out how to care for your child and when to take them to a hospital for treatment.
- Monitoring – telehealth also involves monitoring patients’ health regularly. This can be done through wearable devices that record heart rate, tremors, physical activity, sleep patterns, etc. Devices that can help older patients in their homes such as falls or inactivity can be used to alert caregivers via telehealth communications.
- Apps – there is a range of apps that can help patients stay healthy. These include tools that record vital signs, track physical activity, and send reminders to take medicine. Apps can also be used to record and store personal health information so that you can access it easily in an emergency.
Companies Excelling in Telehealth
In the world of telehealth, there are some public organizations that have been permitted to offer telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there have already been several companies that were growing in the telehealth industry. As demand for telehealth services increases, these companies that have excelled in the field will be leading the way. These companies are set to become strong providers of telehealth services for patients across the U.S.
Statistics show that the industry will see about an 80 percent year over year increase in 2020. With the relaxation of state regulations that oversee telehealth services over the past few weeks, it is a given that the telehealth industry will become stronger over the next few years.
- Gyant – They use chats to collect patient information, which is then analysed by AI. The benefit to patients is the tool is able to help them navigate their way through various treatment options. Following the initial visit, Gyant’s telehealth tool reaches out to patients with some follow-up information regarding their condition and ways to help manage it.
- Hale Health – This company has designed a tool that allows a patient’s care team to stay informed and connected. The idea is to help patients’ manage their condition between doctor visits. Hale can provide information to users on what action to take based on their reported symptoms. It also allows patients to send messages to doctors before and after their visit.
- Dignity Health – With over 60,000 caregivers and staff, Dignity health has become the fifth largest health care system in the U.S. Their virtual care options assist patients who are having symptoms but can’t get to see a doctor. They have even been offering urgent care visits for those with coronavirus symptoms.
- Teladoc Health – Their platform allows patients to have virtual visits with different types of health care professionals such as mental health practitioners. Teladoc has developed an integrated platform where users can get their health care problems solved whether it is a simple issue or a more complex case.
- Doctor on Demand – Patients are able to reach a variety of medical professionals to discuss their symptoms and treatment options. Users will be able to book virtual appointments with physicians or psychologists to discuss their symptoms and concerns.
If you are having symptoms and are concerned about your health but unable to see a doctor, you can book a virtual visit with a physician now.