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Guide to Telehealth

Consecutive lockdowns during the pandemic have brought revolutionary changes in the health and education sectors. How is telehealth transforming the healthcare industry?

With the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic, telehealth has come into the spotlight. It is transforming the overall healthcare system, especially for remotely-located patients. Telehealth is helping to improve the comprehensive healthcare system in many ways, especially for rural patients. It helps diagnose and treat various conditions, making it crucial for telehealth providers and patients for appropriate healthcare delivery. 

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth means providing health services, training, and information using an online mode by using electronic devices like mobiles, laptops, and tablets to reach communities located remotely. According to WHO, telehealth came under the spotlight during the COVID-19 period, when the healthcare system was stressed out due to the increased number of patients and consecutive lockdowns. During the pandemic, the use of telehealth facilities has drastically increased in many countries. Telehealth does not require in-person meetings, and an individual located anywhere in the world can access healthcare information and services. 

Telehealth is a broader concept that entails telemedicine. Telehealth services include training, information, and other health assistance. On the other hand, telemedicine includes a medical checkup by a physician. By using online mode, a doctor can see the patient virtually and assess the symptoms by asking for essential information. Later, a doctor can prescribe necessary medications to the patient. Such diagnosis can be hassle-free and without any risk of contagious disease. 

Telehealth makes it easy for people with disabilities to get remote access to healthcare services. Telehealth helps overcome existing loopholes in the healthcare system and ease the difficulties and challenges in accessing and using telehealth services. Before offering services to clients, telehealth platforms must follow fundamental medical standards. Moreover, healthcare service providers must start telehealth platforms and abide by all state laws or regulations. By adopting a telehealth solution, patients can get medical attention at their convenience at home or any remote location by contacting their healthcare provider online.

Telehealth does not require in-person meetings, and an individual located anywhere in the world can access healthcare information and services.

How does Telehealth Function?

Internet-driven electronic devices like cell phones, laptops, and tablets enable telehealth experts to provide virtual consultations to patients. Any remotely located patient can access healthcare services, and any professional can offer healthcare services online. 

With the help of telehealth, users can exchange x-ray results, blood report information, urine report specifics, previous medication receipts, and patient health data. Additionally, it is possible to describe symptoms, provide thorough instructions and advice, and observe patients virtually. 

What are the Benefits of Telehealth?

  • Patients can easily access specialist/professional healthcare services without any in-person meet
  • Telehealth reduces the cost of healthcare services as compared to traditional healthcare services
  • Time-saving option for both healthcare providers and busy individuals 
  • Rural and remotely located people can access the medical services
  • Underserved people and differently-abled people can easily access telehealth services at home
  • Telehealth services reduce the possibility of contagious diseases like Covid-19
  • Physicians can provide medical assistance from home, without going to OPD
  • Telehealth also reduces the doctor’s overhead costs like rent, staff, 
  •  Peer-to-peer support for patients who are facing physical challenges  

Telehealth Service Providers

Covid showcased the boom in telehealth services, and here are some of the best telehealth providers. Telematics technology cannot fully replace an in-person visit to the doctor. However, telemedicine is more helpful for those who cannot visit doctors immediately. Telemedicine can provide quick assistance without any delay. Some telehealth companies that effectively assist the healthcare industry are  Sesame, GoodRx, PlushCare, MDLive, and Teladoc. 

Future of Telehealth & Challenges

  • There is a chance your regular doctor might not be involved in the treatment
  • Telemedicine might not take the patient’s total medical history into consideration 
  • If you have a complicated medical history, the computer-driven telehealth guidance might not be appropriate for the patient
  • Making treatment decisions on the advice of telehealth counseling seems challenging with these telemedicine services
  • Data safety of patients is the biggest challenge before telehealthcare providers
  • Patients must have a stable internet connection and proper electronic gadgets

Way Forward

Telehealth technology has immensely assisted during the pandemic by enabling the handling of remotely located patients. Easy online assistance for physical and mental health issues during the pandemic has brought this technology into the spotlight. In the era of advancing technology, the use of mobile phones and laptops for telehealth is increasing. Although there are some areas where these telehealth services are facing challenges, they are making a revolution in the healthcare sector. In this today’s world, everyone should have an access to remote medical assistance when and where they need it.

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