Benefits and shortages of telemedicine homework help

Telemedicine is the use of technology by a medical professional to diagnose and treat patients virtually. It is simply a remote delivery of healthcare services. This kind of technology allows healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients from a distance. This kind of approach has been through massive evolution for the last many years and is becoming an important part of healthcare infrastructure.

Benefits and shortages of telemedicine homework help

Benefits and shortages of telemedicine homework help

Difference between telemedicine and telehealth

Telehealth is different from telemedicine because it refers to a broader scope of remote health care services than telemedicine. Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, while telehealth can refer to remote services which are non-clinical.

Types of telemedicine as covered in our benefits and shortages of telemedicine

Each type of telemedicine gives providers other ways to deliver effective and efficient care to patients as they provide wider access for patients in an easier way to be assisted.  Types of telemedicine include:

  • Store-and-forward telemedicine- it is also called asynchronous telemedicine. It is used by health care providers to share patients’ medical information for example lab results, imaging studies, and other records with the physician, a medical specialist, or the radiologist who is in another location. It uses a built-in sophisticated security feature that helps to ensure there is patient confidentiality. This kind of telemedicine is efficient for patients, primary caregivers, and specialists to collaborate and review the information when it is convenient for them. It is popular for diagnoses and treatment in certain specialties like dermatology, ophthalmology, and radiology.
  • Real-time telemedicine- it uses real-time video which allows medical professionals to consult, assess, prescribe and diagnose from miles away, and it is delivered through virtual visits between patients and healthcare providers who are home. During real-time encounters, patients and physicians use video conferencing to see and hear each other. It is also used for emergency and primary care, follow-ups, and management of drugs and chronic illnesses.
  • Remote patient monitoring- it is a method used to track patients’ vital signs and activities from a distance. It is often used for managing high-risk patients like cardiac patients and those who have been released recently from the hospital. They are also useful for several chronic conditions like diabetes to track glucose levels while sending the data to the doctor. Elderly people too in assisted living facilities or their homes can be conveniently monitored.
  • Stored interactive- it is a new type of telemedicine that is considered a store and forward technology. It acts as a text message but with the benefits of interactive services like real-time videos. This allows patients to show doctors their symptoms more clearly through recorded video messages.

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 the benefits of telemedicine

Telemedicine has benefits for both patients and health care providers. Some of these benefits include:

  • Comfort and convenience- with telemedicine, patients do not have to drive to the hospital to see the doctor. Through video conferencing, they can get healthcare services remotely from the comfort of their homes.
  • Helps in control of infectious illness- telemedicine helps doctors to make appointments to prescreen patients for possible infectious diseases. Sick people also do not come to the office which helps to control exposure to germs and infections from other people, especially pregnant mothers, chronically ill patients, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems.
  • Family connections-while consulting your doctor through telemedicine, you can always have a family member with you who can ask questions and be taking notes of your doctor’s response. Telemedicine can loop in your relative irrespective of distance in the virtual visit at your authorization.
  • Better assessment over time- telemedicine provides better assessment because your doctor can see you in your home environment. For example, specialists in allergies can be able to identify clues in your surroundings that cause allergies in you. Neurologists too and occupational therapists can be able to assess whether you can move and take care of yourself.
  • Chronic condition management and primary care- telemedicine makes it easier to connect with different physicians depending on your family’s health needs. Some telemedicine systems are set up in such a way that new patients can get appointments with the next available practitioner hence saving time.
  • Lower costs- patients who use telemedicine use less money in hospitals hence saving money.
  • There is improved access to care from trusted source- telemedicine makes it more convenient for people with disabilities to access healthcare. People who are geographically isolated too can access healthcare.
  • Preventive care- through telemedicine people can access preventive care which can improve their long-term health.
  • Additional revenue stream- physicians get supplementary income through telemedicine by providing care to more patients.
  • Reduced overhead expenses- physicians who offer telemedicine incur fewer expenses because they can rent smaller offices without many exam rooms.

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Disadvantages of telemedicine

Telemedicine is not generally good for all patients. Some of the disadvantages of telemedicine include:

  • Insurance coverage – not all insurance agencies cover telemedicine costs.
  • Care delays- in cases where patients require emergency treatment telemedicine, may consume time hence delaying the time for treatment because the physician cannot give lifesaving treatment or laboratory services digitally.
  • Protection of medical data- criminals like hackers can hack the system and access patients’ medical records especially if the patient accesses telemedicine services through public networks.
  • Licensing issues- state laws keep varying hence clinicians may not be able to practice medicine across state lines as this depends on the state in which they hold their licenses and in which state their patients live.
  • Technological concerns- sometimes it can be challenging to find the right digital platform to use a weak network connection too can be challenging which makes communication difficult hence the poor quality of care. Clinicians too need to ensure that they are using telemedicine that is secure and fully compliant with the law.
  • The inability to examine patients- in telemedicine, physicians are forced to rely on patients’ reports. This may require the physician to ask more questions to ensure that they get enough information regarding health history. Sometimes patients leave out important symptoms which might be noticeable by the physician during in-person care hence compromising treatment.

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 What are the limitations of telemedicine?

There are a few limitations to telemedicine which include:

  • Some patients prefer hands-on in-person care they are used to and respond better to it.
  • Not everyone has easy access to telemedicine. Some patients do are not comfortable with technology while others do not have internet.
  • Some types of medical care need to be performed in person, for example, physical examinations elements, labs, imaging, and interventional procedures.
  • Telehealth does not cover all health visits for all medical conditions

Challenges facing telemedicine

 

  • Reimbursement- it is generally difficult for physicians and health care providers to get reimbursement for telemedicine services. It is possible to get reimbursement for services covered under Medicare chronic management program for patients with two or more chronic illnesses.
  • Lack of sufficient data for care continuity- lack of platform integration normally interrupts the continuity of care. When a patient receives telemedicine care from one service provider and then chooses another care provider next time, the second physician lacks all the information they need to make a proper diagnosis.
  • Lack of integration- in cases where your electronic records do not coordinate with the telemedicine platform you are using, you are likely to complicate your workflow records.
  • Service awareness- physicians need to create awareness about their telemedicine services so that they can be used by patients. In case they fail to create awareness, their telemedicine services will not be used.
  • Some patients lack technical skills- when patients do not understand how to use telemedicine, it reduces utilization and prevents accessibility. Physicians, therefore, need to survey patients before launching telemedicine services.
  • Technology is expensive- telemedicine is to physicians and hospitals due to the high cost of equipment used in telemedicine.
  • Concerns to do with privacy-despite being convenient, telemedicine services can provide a gateway to security and privacy issues. Hackers can hack the system and get patients’ information anytime.
  • Adoption- sometimes healthcare systems resist innovation in telemedicine because it creates competition. Licensing barriers are what causes resistance to solutions by individual providers as well as other states’ telemedicine networks.

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The future of telemedicine

  • Increased patient utilization- what was originally implemented as a strategy to reduce the amount of community transmission, has now led to conversations between healthcare providers about the continuation of telehealth consultations for many clients in the future. Telemedicine is now being considered a cost-effective first line of treatment for non-urgent and follow-up appointments. From now henceforth, healthcare and insurance companies will be working together to broaden the accessibility of telehealth.
  • Increased chronic care management- most of the older adults suffer from a chronic illnesses globally which include cancer, lung disease, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and side effects of stroke. Most of the time lifestyle choices and preventive care methods can help to prevent and treat these diseases. However, a large number of such patients are not able to follow through with their treatment because they do not refill their repeat prescriptions and do not attend their regular follow-up appointments which can help manage their symptoms.

Telehealth treatment remains a convenient way for patients to connect to their doctors quickly and frequently. This helps to remove lengthy queues in waiting rooms. Having more frequent connections between doctors and patients may allow for small illnesses to be caught early enough and reduce the risk of developing severe disease.

  • Greater focus on mental health- many people in the world suffer from mental illness. The pandemic disrupted mental health services and those who were already receiving treatment saw their support groups close. To continue treating their patients, many doctors and therapists turned to video conferencing to continue supporting their patients. This led to the development of teletherapy and telepsychiatry and began moving forward and it will likely become a widely accepted form of treatment.
  • Improved user experience- patient demand has led to the growth of telemedicine. This demand has led to convenient access to care services and will continue as a result, placing a greater expectation on healthcare providers. Therefore, as healthcare organizations continue to plan for the future of telehealth, they should place patient experience and expectations at the forefront in order to put themselves ahead of the competition.
  • Integrated data- services that allow data sharing are easier and more convenient to use. As a result, this is where telemedicine is heading. Many telehealth apps are beginning to utilize and communicate with fitness apps. For example, to be able to gather information about step count and heart rate directly from and individual’s devices. This helps to give your healthcare provider a more rounded view of a person’s lifestyle. Paired with electronic healthcare records, can help them create a clearer picture about their patient’s health.

Requirements for telemedicine

Telehealth provides many benefits for both the healthcare providers and the patients in general. In addition, a reduction in the spread of diseases, telemedicine has reduced operational costs hence allowing healthcare providers to reach more

patients in less time. while healthcare providers have an idea of what telemedicine involves, many do not do not know what is required successful and safe telemedicine program. The requirements for telemedicine include:

  • Internet connection- telehealth allows patients and healthcare providers to connect via video conferencing software. This connection requires a broadband connection to provide the speed that is needed to ensure good video quality and sufficient data transfer.
  • Platform for telemedicine- apart from a reliable internet connection, healthcare providers need to locate the right and reliable telehealth platform for their needs. It is important that healthcare providers also consider their goals when selecting their telemedicine software.
  • Technology security- healthcare providers need to take care in order to protect patient information even during telehealth visits. Apart from making sure that virtual visits take place in a secure, sound-proof environment healthcare providers need to look for a telemedicine solution that ensures proper protection of patient’s information. They should also look for a telemedicine solution that includes security features like end-to-end encryption by using the standard SSL/LTS protocol and also advanced encryption standards.
  • Telemedicine hardware- depending on the needs and requirements and the needs of the practice, healthcare providers have the privilege to choose from a wide range of telemedicine carts and kiosks. Telehealth carts allow providers to bring outside specialists into an in-person appointment trough video conferencing software while telemedicine kiosks allow patients to receive quality care without getting into contact with their healthcare provider. Therefore, there is need for telemedicine carts and kiosks to enable a quick assessment and transfer of all data needed to evaluate or diagnose a condition.
  • Telemedicine devices- the interconnection of telemedicine devices allows the patients to take their health issues into their own hands while giving their healthcare providers all the information they need to better evaluate them and diagnose a variety of conditions.  Even if the telemedicine devices differ from one practice to the other, the most common devices include digital thermometers, blood pressure monitors and ultrasound devices. Most of the time, telemedicine kiosks often contain a wide range of diagnostic tools. Typica.ly found in clinics, hospitals and healthcare organizations, retail locations, these kiosks provide a very and convenient ways for patients to access care.
  • Partnering with a trusted telemedicine solution provider- a well implemented telemedicine solution provides a number of benefits to both patients and healthcare providers. However, it is important for healthcare providers to evaluate their needs before implementation. They need to do a full analysis so as to provide all the information needed to determine the types of telemedicine equipment and solution needed.
  • Training- telemedicine is always very productive when all healthcare providers know hoe to use it and conduct it effectively. This makes telehealth training such an important component of any telehealth practice. Healthcare organizations, hospitals and clinics that implement new telehealth technology should not rush the training process, but instead allow the medical practitioners to ask questions and get used to new systems and tools.

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Conclusion

 

Telemedicine is a very good option for people who cannot go to the hospital for one reason or another. However, patients need to check the credentials of the doctor providing telemedicine. For people with the fear of leaving the house, those with chronic illnesses that make them susceptible to infections telemedicine becomes the best option. Patients therefore should provide adequate information and be willing and ready to show the doctor the injuries, rashes, inflammations and any other symptoms the doctor needs to see so he can make proper diagnoses so he can give the correct treatment.

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