Telehealth — Tomorrow will be here

Telehealth is the utilization of telecommunication systems to supply health or medical care. Examples include videoconferencing, store and forward technologies, and remote monitoring devices. During the last 5-10 years considering that the wide acceptance and option of broadband technology, the utilization of telehealth applications has substantially increased. The private sector is estimated to be worth over $1 billion by the end of 2010. Additionally, over $4 billion has been appropriated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support Health IT. The foundation of telehealth technologies is supported by two main ideas, the decrease in travel time and its associated costs.

According to the American Telemedicine Association, telehealth technologies offer a clinician the ability to monitor and measure patient health data and emotional pet support information over geographical, social, and cultural distances. Additionally, these video and non-video technologies are utilized to get and transmit patient health information. Telehealth technologies can track the vital signs of patients with diseases, such as for instance congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other various chronic and acute illnesses. Telehealth systems are supported in hospitals and homes across the country, particularly for his or her preventive medicine applications. The faster information can be gathered and transferred to the correct professional, the better it is for the patient. Studies show a reduction in er visits and rescue calls, leading to improved health outcomes for patients receiving continuous care via telehealth monitoring. These outcomes include a growth in medication compliance, a decrease in patient isolation, and improved access to immediate care and services.

Limited top speed internet access using geographic regions provides some difficulties in the delivery of telehealth applications, specifically real-time interactive video. Because of the bandwidth demands of interactive video, patients surviving in rural areas tend to make use of telephone or email applications instead. Another disadvantage is the lack of insurance reimbursement. Although there are always a few reimbursement models through Medicare, private insurance companies provide almost no support for telehealth technologies. Additionally, the liabilities of intervention have yet to be fully understood due to the novelty with this service delivery medium. One of the biggest setbacks for nationwide telehealth adoption is the price of the technology. Some large videoconferencing rooms could cost in the upwards of $200,000. However, whilst the technology components get cheaper and better, overall costs will reduce over time.

Although nearly all telehealth applications are related to elderly individuals, other arenas are now being tested and considered. Children with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities are now being treated and monitored by non-medical and medical professionals in the comfort of these home. By utilizing interactive video, the parents and children may have therapy sessions using their professional remotely. It is very important to understand that advanced interactive video is unlike standard web chat hardware and software. Advanced interactive video includes dynamic remote controls, pan-tilt-zoom camera capabilities, public and private audio modes, advanced video and audio clarity controls, and secure data encryption. Consequently, without these features, remote therapeutic improvements may well be more difficult to obtain.

One comment to Telehealth — Tomorrow will be here

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