Telehealth uses telecommunication techniques to deliver medical education, health education, and telemedicine over a distance. Telehealth services involve using information and communication technology (ICT) to provide health services and transmit information using voice, data, and images.
It includes the transmission of diagnosis, preventive (educational), treatment, and curative aspects of healthcare services by educators or care providers to care recipients.
Instead of the patient traveling to another city to see a specialist, they will schedule a video conference at the local GP or health care center with specialists to get the information they need. They can also use a computer or mobile device and communicate from home.
The purpose of telehealth is to:
- Provide access to medical specialists
- Offer health care to people in isolated communities or rural areas
- Offer health services to people with limited mobility
- Enhance coordination and communication of care between health care teams and patients
- Provide support to patients who are self-managing their health care
Some of the telehealth services offered in health care are;
- Patient portals – This is when an online portal is used to communicate medical information to patients. A portal will help you communicate with your doctor, request for prescriptions, review test results, and schedule appointments. It can also serve as a single point of communication for your cancer care team
- Making virtual appointments– Through video conferencing, you can arrange virtual meetings to see your doctor and receive ongoing care when an in-person visit is not necessary. You can also schedule web-based visits with your doctor for minor illnesses. Here you’ll be guided through some questions, and a doctor will prescribe your medications, additional medical care, and offer home care strategy suggestions
- Offering remote monitoring– This is when your healthcare team uses different technologies to monitor your health remotely. They include wearable devices that will help to record and transmit information automatically, such as blood glucose, heart rates, and more. You can also use mobile apps to upload information such as blood glucose readings and send them to your doctor
Telehealth makes healthcare accessible to many people and also improve the quality of health care by enhancing efficiency and proper coordination between providers and patients.