Telehealth has become an increasingly part of today’s standard of healthcare options. Compared to the adoption rate in 2010, the implementation of telehealth at doctor’s clinics has nearly doubled. Statistics released by the American Hospital Association indicate that 75% of all hospitals now use telehealth services. Total adoption of this treatment option is sure to reach 100% as patients and practitioners both come to understand the immense benefits it offers. In order to remain current and relevant, healthcare facilities will have to make telehealth a mandatory part of their practice.
Comparing Telehealth and Telemedicine
These two medical terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a notable difference between the two concepts. These services are described by the American Academy of Family Physicians as follows:
- Telehealth: Electronic and telecommunication technologies to provide healthcare services at a distance.
- Telemedicine: The delivery of medical treatment at a distance, such as when a physician at one location uses telecommunications technology to treat a patient at another site.
Telehealth covers a more expansive range of remote health care services than telemedicine. Multiple providers can provide telehealth services, including nurse practitioners. It’s often used to provide the following types of care:
- Low-risk urgent care
- Medication management
- Chronic condition monitoring
- Hospitalization follow-ups with patients
- Counseling and coaching on healthcare topics
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention identifies three primary telehealth modalities that are used. The first is synchronous telehealth. This takes place via chat, video call, or phone and takes place in a real-time environment. Asynchronous telehealth takes place when patients and providers interact at different times, such as via email or a patient portal. Both sides are able to collect and review the information and communicate about it at different times. Remote patient monitoring is the third and final variety. This form of telehealth occurs through the use of monitoring devices worn or used by the patient. The output from these devices is sent to the physician, who can monitor the results.
Telehealth services are known for improving access to care for patients. This is done by reducing the need for travel and the amount of time needed for any given visit. Most visits to the physician take up to two hours. Forty minutes of this time is travel, 60 is spent waiting at the facility, and another 20 is actually spent with the doctor. Over half the time needed for a traditional doctor visit is eliminated through the use of telehealth services.
Speak With Your Physician About Telehealth Options
Want to start benefiting from telehealth technology? Reach out to your primary physician to determine what options they offer at their clinic. More and more facilities are incorporating this technology, providing options to more patients every day. Telehealth has proven to be an incredible boon against spreading infection of COVID and other illnesses. Since there is a reduced need for patients to be in the doctor’s office, it’s easier to control the spread of infection at these locations. This is just one more benefit of embracing the future of telehealth!