The term Telehealth refers to the provision of healthcare with the use of technology.
Health-related services can be provided to patients outside of the traditional facilities thanks to virtual communication and digital information.
While this is a broader term, you might also hear about telemedicine. That involves only the clinical services provided through a piece of software and from a distance. Telehealth, on the other hand, consists of a bigger number of remote healthcare services, such as health promotion, the training of health workers, surveillance, and more.
The global Telehealth market is going to reach nearly $10 billion by 2021. Thanks to e-health, any person can use a computer or mobile device to manage their health better. Some of the things you might easily do include:
- Order medications online;
- Have a video consultation with a doctor or nurse;
- Use personal health apps;
- Access your health records;
- Check test results.
This saves time to those who don’t need to make an appointment with a doctor and visit a hospital but just have a question about their symptoms, and promotes better health management as the knowledge is easily accessible. It’s also beneficial to individuals with limited mobility.
Types of Telehealth
There are 4 main types of Telehealth.
- Video conferencing – as the name suggests, this is a solution in which the specialist and patient get to interact with each other in real-time.
- Store and Forward – when a patient and their healthcare provider don’t need to have a virtual meeting, they can exchange information and files. These are then stored in an electronic medical record.
- mHealth – that’s mobile health and it involves any use of telehealth through a smartphone or tablet.
- Patient monitoring – last but not least, we have remote patient monitoring, which is used for people who don’t need to stay in a hospital but who should still be monitored.
The Benefits of Telehealth
Reach millions of new patients
One of the top advantages of Telehealth is that it allows healthcare providers all over the world to get access to and thus help more people, both in rural and urban areas.
Thanks to virtual communication, doctors and nurses aren’t limited to their facilities.
It saves time
The immediate access to valuable information or the chance to consult with a specialist right away are another way how Telehealth is used in healthcare and why there’s a demand for it.
Telehealth saves money to hospitals and patients due to reduced transportations costs, fewer hospital stays, and better management of chronic diseases.
Virtual doctor visits seem to reduce the cost of healthcare. People from rural areas are encouraged to adopt telecommunications technology for that very reason, but also because they might not have direct access to a doctor near their home.
We mentioned that compared to telemedicine, Telehealth includes a broader scope of services, one of which is counseling.
Many people struggling with signs of anxiety, depression or stress aren’t comfortable with an in-person therapy session. But a virtual one from the comfort of their home doesn’t sound so bad.