Over the years, the concept of healthcare services has changed drastically. Asynchronous and synchronous video calls, EMRs, patient portals, and regular phone calls are now a diverse part of telehealth. With that comes various types of digital care delivered in different, remote methods.
However, with the introduction of telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare, people get confused about what’s what.
Get the best telehealth appointment in a world where time is of the essence. Telehealth allows patients to receive timely medical care without sacrificing their busy schedules. Let’s explore what each “tele” means, what to anticipate, and when receiving treatment via telehealth is advantageous.
The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) defines telehealth as a broad category of electronic and telecommunications technologies and services utilized to deliver care when patients and healthcare providers are at different places. It is an extensive form of remote healthcare.
Telehealth is more than a virtual health visit.
- It involves remote monitoring, online written communications, video visits, and telephone calls.
- Telehealth is an extensive term for how a healthcare provider interacts with his patients online. These interactions can be through patient portals or in the form of online lab results. Virtual healthcare could be audio or video.
- Public health, healthcare management, and education for patients and healthcare providers are also a part of telehealth.
- Easier prescription refills without having to wait too long for the turn
While telemedicine involves providing healthcare services remotely by a physician, telehealth is the field of digital healthcare.
What Is Telemedicine
The benefit of telemedicine today is the convenience for patients and practitioners by eliminating the need for a walk-in visit to receive advice or treatment. In contrast to the expense of visiting a doctor or other healthcare professional, it is also cost-effective.
- Telemedicine is handy in having the option to make calls after the clinic has closed.
- In the follow-up of people with chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, it is beneficial.
- Patients can have the advantage of telemedicine if they need assistance with dosage adjustments, lifestyle changes, or prescription refills.
- In addition, telemedicine also makes laboratory investigations and patient monitoring easy.
- Telemedicine is convenient for patients who live in farther areas and hence, cannot visit the clinic physically.
What Is Telecare
Telecare refers to the application systems or software that ensure patient safety in the independence of their homes.
- The use of telecare is employed to increase patient access to care.
- Telehealth assists in managing recovery and well-being while receiving treatment at home and virtually monitors risks or early warning signs of medical conditions.
- Various technological tools, including telephones, online virtual visits, and remote patient tracking centers, could be used to manage the treatment.
- Telecare also includes tracking social and lifestyle factors. The use of remote monitoring centers to help the elderly and watch for any warning signs of falls or odd behavior patterns that might need intervention is one expanding example.
Many systems help patients with instant feedback on their surroundings, health, or circumstance, which accessorizes them to immediate medical assistance.
There are three types of Telecare systems.
Telecare Prediction System
`Prediction-based telecare systems aid in identifying problems beforehand. These systems employ software that monitors and examines data for warning signs. They also monitor increases in the intensity of the patient’s condition. For example, a minor accident requiring help, etc. It graphs the patterns in the individual’s data, and the information determines whether or not assistance is necessary. Additionally, it can track sleep patterns and issues like sleepwalking.
Telecare Sensory Systems
A sensory system monitors a person’s surroundings and triggers when an anomaly occurs, preventing common problems. Bed sensors, for instance, could be configured to sound an alarm if the individual isn’t in bed for the set time (indicating they may have fallen). Sensory systems record patient movements and their approximate locations.
Telecare Harm Mitigating Systems
With a harm mitigation alarm, the user wears a pendant that they can trigger if they need help. Bed sensors, heat sensors, smoke sensors, and detectors for smoke connect to this pendant. In an unusual event, the device sends an SOS to the call center so that someone can help the individual immediately. The sensors may also be activated if the patient doesn’t go to bed at a set time. The alarm sets off if the patient doesn’t press an indication button regularly.
Types Of Telehealth
The three types of telemedicine are as follows:
- Real-time telemedicine, such as virtual doctor visits using smartphones or computers
- Store-and-forward telemedicine, where healthcare providers share patient information using secure and specialized software solutions
- Remote patient monitoring: remote patient monitoring enables medical professionals to monitor the health of patients living farther away.
When To Use Telemedicine And Telehealth
Telemedicine provides an accessible way to receive treatment in the comfort of your home.
- Telemedicine helps schedule appointments with psychologists and psychiatrists.
- Telemedicine services extend to easy follow-ups and prescription refills.
- Many people resort to telehealth services these days. It helps them in routine follow-ups without meddling with their schedules.
- Healthcare professionals are witnessing an increased demand for telehealth services for their convenience. Telehealth revolutionalized the healthcare system the most during COVID-19. However, it is expanding even today. People reach out to telehealth for the comfort it provides.
- Furthermore, people with a fear of being judged can easily show up for virtual appointments.
- One of the advantages of telemedicine is that it is regardless of location or transportation. People who drive for hours just to get to an appointment won’t ever miss follow-ups with telemedicine.
- However, telehealth and telemedicine aren’t always the options. For example, if you require a hip replacement, your surgeon may want to perform a physical assessment. At this point, telemedicine becomes limited.
Telehealth augments the complete healthcare spectrum, keeping this in mind. Let’s see the virtual healthcare applications that fall into the category.
- ICU support
- ER support
- Senior care
- Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)
Telemedicine features video scopes that help the doctors see while intubating. This feature help physicians differentiate between vocal cords and airways by peering inside through a camera. Because of this, the intubation success rates have increased exceptionally.
Bottom Line: Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Telecare
Differentiating between telecare, telehealth, and telemedicine can be challenging. The three terms to provide healthcare to the people are a shared feature. Telehealth refers to all digital activities that enhance society’s healthcare. It also includes educating and counseling the patients. Subsets of telehealth called telemedicine and telecare engage with people and improve healthcare outcomes.
A patient may schedule a telehealth appointment regarding any problems he may be having. Or a doctor can initiate a telehealth appointment just as a routine follow-up. For better telehealth appointments and communication doctor and the patient should have a proper internet setup. The appointment processes through the help of an application or software.
When used for tasks like making a follow-up contact with a patient, a phone call is a type of telehealth. Video calls can frequently take the place of walk-in appointments. When required, this promotes social privacy and saves time and money. Find the best telemedicine appointment across the US at SaadMD.com.
Related Article: Fibromyalgia Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms and Triggers