Telehealth: Improving Healthcare delivery.Anisha Mukhija
Telehealth is the distribution of health-related services and information via electronic information and telecommunication technologies.
The concept of telehealth is booming as it provides numerous opportunities for patients residing in remote areas to connect with doctors and avail of appropriate and timely medical advice. Telehealth services can act as an effective solution to address the challenge of making healthcare accessible and affordable for rural areas, which lack in infrastructure, funding, transport facilities, and qualified healthcare personnel. Teleconsultations help in remote patient monitoring and can be conducted through video conferencing and other online tools.
Health and well-being of patients can be monitored by regular online follow-up consultations. Health education and awareness can also be provided to patients as well as their relatives. Supervision of patient care is made easier by home healthcare services which provide continuous remote monitoring of patient health data. This can be a boon not only for patients but also their relatives and caregivers. Various mobile health applications can aid in this process. Patients and their caregivers can be engaged and empowered to manage health conditions more effectively.
Telehealth provides distance learning opportunities for doctors, wherein they can benefit and learn from expertise of each other. Digital and telecommunication platforms can be utilised effectively for this. Cases and treatment protocols can be discussed through video conferencing. Second opinions can be obtained from other specialists for better patient management. Reports of diagnostic tests can be forwarded to more experienced specialists for their advice. This will enhance planning of treatment modalities. Telehealth can help in education and training of healthcare personnel and help augment their healthcare expertise.
Remote robotic surgeries can become a routine phenomenon in the years to come. Surgeons can operate remotely, and patients can benefit from their expertise, which otherwise would have remained inaccessible to them. Rehabilitation through physical therapy can be done via digital monitoring tools and help in better recovery of patients.
Telehealth will help in creation of electronic personal health records of patients. These can be accessible to patients as well as their doctors anytime.
Telehealth will change the future of healthcare delivery and has the potential to make healthcare more efficient and accessible to all.
Author – Dr. Aasawari Nalgundwar
MBBS, MD(PSM), PGDHA
Asst. Professor-Health Care Management
Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development & Research