It sounds space age-y and strange, but the future of healthcare is near, and in some cases, here: telehealth.
What exactly is telehealth? Often used with another word, “telemedicine”, it differs a little wherever you go. California’s laws defines it (paraphrased here) as a mode of delivering healthcare services via technology to facilitate many factions including diagnosis, treatment, education, consultation, and management of a patient’s health. However, the Health Resources and Services Administration has defined telehealth as, “The use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.”
Here’s some of the most popular modes of telehealth:
- Live video: Two-way interaction, typically between a patient and their caregiver, using audio-visual technology. This can be used for consultative and diagnostic services.
- Store-and-Forward: Transmissions of health history, like x-rays, though a secure server system to a physician. Typically used when sending information to a specialist.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: This is the electronic collection of health data from an individual in one area, which is then sent to the physician in another location.
- Mobile Health: Information about personal and public healthcare that is supported on mobile devices such as computers, tablets, and cell phones. Some examples are alerts about diseases or healthy tips sent by text.
There’s no doubt that as technology evolves, it will become a greater factor in our healthcare sphere. The great thing about telehealth is that it can apply to all fields of healthcare, not just the typical hospital or doctor’s office setting. Dentists, counselors, physical therapists, home health providers and even disaster management groups can utilize telehealth.
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