In today’s ever-changing environment, access to medical services is crucial for every individual. COVID-19 has affected each individual’s life in the most unimaginable ways. The fear-mongering surrounding the pandemic has proliferated drastically. This has driven people to take the necessary steps to ensure easy access to health care services. Also, in the present scenario, there is an upsurge in the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies. These are being used to deliver and facilitate health and health-related services. Some of the service include provider and patient information, medical services, and self-care, all of these come under a common term known as Telehealth and types of Telehealth.
Live video conferencing, remote patient monitoring, and various mobile apps to track patient progress come under the purview of what Telehealth entails.
Telehealth contributes to attaining universal health coverage. It enhances accessibility for patients to healthcare providers, is cost-effective, and ensures quality health services at any given point. Telehealth is of great value to those living in remote areas and the most vulnerable groups.
According to WHO’s analysis of the third global survey on eHealth based on the reported data by countries. In 2016, less than 50% of member countries have stated that there are no policies concerning telehealth and no mention of the same in the pre-existing policies either. Moreover, the report also enlisted the main barriers faced by countries in the implementation of telehealth. Lack of infrastructure (equipment and/or connectivity), lack of funding to develop and support such programs. Contesting priorities in the health system, and a paucity of legislation or regulations concerning telehealth programs.
The various types of Telehealth.
Most commonly, 4 types of Telehealth methods are in use. They are as follows:
1. Live video conferencing
It is the most well-known Telehealth method, and it is just what it sounds like – a virtual, two-way live-video-based conference. It is usually between a patient and their healthcare provider. This method of telehealth is widely used in various activities. From physicians in local hospitals to healthcare providers and private practitioners, live-video-conferencing is in high demand.
Live video-conferencing eliminates the need to travel, saves time, and reduces stress for both the parties, i.e., patient and healthcare provider. Live video conferencing also facilitates the process of ensuring access to healthcare in areas that are usually remote and rural.
2. Asynchronous Video (AKA Store-and-Forward)
Asynchronous video is a method of electronically transmitting a patient’s stored health history in a way that is not real-time and is used by a healthcare provider. This method is often employed in rural areas when healthcare providers are collaborating with a specialist situated elsewhere. This method of telehealth also enables the administration of specialist healthcare to areas where it may be sparse.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM)
Remote patient monitoring is frequently used when treating seniors or in assisted living centers. The method involves collecting healthcare data from a patient or resident of one location. Moreover, data is being transmitting electronically to a healthcare professional (such as a nurse or provider) for monitoring and review. Also, remote patient monitoring is particularly beneficial in senior living centers. This is because they, for example, help prevent falls and enable providers to maintain a watchful overview of residents’ vitals.
4. Mobile Health (mHealth)
The concept of mobile health involves using smart devices such as smartphones and tablets. Moreover they have health-related apps loaded onto them. These apps support continuous real-time healthcare monitoring. A variety of health-based apps enable us to monitor a range of parameters. Some of the parameters include the blood sugar levels in a diabetic patient to a person’s daily water intake. With the help of these apps, healthier lifestyle behaviors can encourage better wellbeing. Such apps can also put to integrate with the personal health records of a patient.
Telehealth is immensely beneficial to all. Also, it is extremely crucial to working professionals who are working busy schedules. They usually find it hard to set time aside for routine health check-ups. Companies that have medical insurance policies for their employees can up their standards. In order to ensure employee safety and welfare within the organization. The companies have started incorporating Telehealth as a part of their health care policies and practices.
In this ever-growing industry, there are many types of telehealth that boost patients’ lifestyle behaviors and enhance overall health. Telehealth provides easy access to a plethora of employees’ health care needs. Telehealth allows all to take action, modify treatment to improve their health.