Telehealth is more likely to achieve better and faster health outcomes, and gives patients more responsibility over their health.
Telehealth and telemedicine are hot topics and they are creating quite a stir. Telehealth is the delivery of health-related services and information via telecommunications technologies. Telehealth could be as simple as two health professionals discussing a case over a video chat or as sophisticated as doing robotic surgery between facilities at different ends of the globe.
What are the implications of telemedicine? In some cases, the ability to send images quickly over the internet sidesteps the time-lag that older technological modes presented. Waiting for a fax can now seem eternal as compared to one physician emailing a report or Face-timing in order to discuss a patient’s case.
Is it all beneficial, however? Time may be saved, but patient-to-patient contact may be lost, as some physician’s offices are, for instance, entertaining “office visits” via Face-time, Skype, and other video chat services. And this is just the beginning.
To what lengths is telemedicine beneficial? And who gets to weigh in on this? Each patient? Or just the doctors running the offices? And what, if any, protocol will become the standard of patient treatment?
These questions knock on the already-fragile door of compromised service across most industries, especially in healthcare. In a field where patients are sick, vulnerable, and often scared, what is needed is more patient-centered focus. More handholding.
This issue begs the question of balance. How much technology is the “right” amount, as to not compromise patient care? How far is too far? These questions have yet to be answered.
What do you think? Respond by clicking “reply” and feel free to share this.
Tags: Encompass Healthcare and Wound Medicine, healthcare, patient, telehealth, telemedicine