Running head: TELE HEALTHCARE 1
TELE HEALTHCARE 6
Approximately over 50 years of telehealth development has seen tackling of numerous medical conditions through the utilization of different types of technologies. Tele healthcare has been associated with a wide variety of outcomes in the healthcare. Despite the fact that it as shown great promise in the modern times, it has also triggered a number of challenges for interpretation and technical issues that are linked to the lack of technological expertise among the healthcare practitioners. For instance, then challenges that exist in defining such terms as telehealth is a reflection of the broader difficulties when it comes to the interpretation of the complex interplay that exists between clinical output, patient involvement, service designs and technology. Despite these significant challenges whose impacts in the healthcare delivery is great, the significance of telehealth practices cannot be overlooked in terms of the patient outcomes and efficiency of healthcare delivery. Tele healthcare has enhanced information sharing between patients and doctors even those who are located in the remote areas. It has made it possible to monitor the progress of patients within and outside the facilities devoid of the need to have physical meetings. The benefits of tele healthcare outweigh its pitfalls hence it is important that is integrated into medical practices to optimize patient outcomes.
Tele healthcare is depicted as personalized healthcare that is delivered over a long distance such that data is transferred from the patients to the professionals and back. It has played a key role in enhancing feedback from the patients to the professionals for the interest of evidence-based decision making and treatment. For instance, the significance of telehealth can be evident among the inpatients with severe long-term conditions such as diabetes and long-term asthma. It has played a key role in reducing hospital admissions without increasing mortality.
Advantages of Tele Healthcare
There are numerous advantages of tele healthcare. To start with is that it is powered by technology. Technological advancement in the modern times has made it easy for various organizational operations. Technological advancement has been adopted across all spheres of life and healthcare is not an exemption. Creating a balance between healthcare practices and technology is a key requirement when it comes to the medical operations and practices (Dorsey & Topol, 2016). The case of the importance of tele healthcare can be witnessed in electronic health records whereby a medical professional admits the patient and their data is keyed in the system. This data is required in the entire decision making process that concern the various approaches to treatment.
In the nursing practice, the concept of evidence-based practice has gained course with the increasing need to implement and adopt it in the healthcare. As such, telehealth has played a key role in eradicating the physical barriers that used to undermine the treatment process. Specifically, the patients who do not need to be admitted or readmitted to the nursing homes have a chance to receive medical services while still at their homes (Lee & Billings, 2016). They are monitored through the tele healthcare approaches that facilitate the transmission of data from the patients to the professionals and back. Long-term conditions such as diabetes and asthma are claiming many lives in the United States today.
According to Gulla (2018), approximately more than 100 million people are living with diabetes in the United States. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention has reported that around 9.4% are living with acute diabetes in the United States (Gulla, 2018). The basic question that comes herein is how tele healthcare has played a major role in the delivery of health services from the medical professionals to the patients especially those in remote areas who have remained underserved. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention have cited cost as one of the biggest challenges that have undermined the remediation of the long-term conditions in the country. The cost of treatment has been reduced significantly with reduced physical meetings between the nurses and patients. The patient have a chance to acquire medical assessment and advice while at their homes without necessarily having to hold physical meetings with the practitioners.
It is important to underscore the fact that tele healthcare is a win-win situation for both the patients and medical practitioners. This is because the pressure that has been piling in nursing homes has reduced. According to Kaambwa et.al. (2017), the key cause of medical errors in the nursing facilities is high doctor-patient ratio. The focus on one patient has been overlooked due to the huge populations of patients who visit healthcare facilities every day. Tele healthcare has helped by and large to remedy this challenge that has remained to be a thorn not only in the nursing practice and in the entire healthcare fraternity.
Timely information access is another advantage associated with tele healthcare. It has helped the healthcare professionals to have access to information at any given time and place provided there is network coverage and the access is authorized. One of the ways in which telehealth has helped to achieve this is the integration of patient data. Hospitals have come together and integrated their data for the interest of enhancing patient outcomes. Medical professionals have, for instance, joined associations that have reiterated the significance of having an integrated system to enhance information access between the patients and medical professionals. The patient with long-term conditions could have special gadgets that they can use to make important communications with the medical professionals in which they are able to receive medical advice. This is one of the practices that have played a major role in reducing mortality rates and deaths associated with time lapses especially as a result of delays between the occurrence of an emergency and response time (Polinski et.al., 2016).
In tele healthcare, by a click of a button, one can be able to access the history of the patients from the time of admission to the subsequent treatments that they have been subjected to for the interest of understanding the best medical approaches to subject them to. The history of the patient includes data of the previous treatments in other facilities for the same or different diseases. This has been key in the decision making process in the healthcare arena.
According to Hellen (2017), the primary interest of the healthcare practices is to enhance patient outcomes and help the patient to regain their health both in the short-term and long-term. Take for instance the case of the Affordable Care Act. It was enacted with the interest to enhance patient outcomes through the provision of universal healthcare insurance, efficiency in the standard procedures and practices of treatment and more importantly reduction of costs. Tele health is among major approaches that have bene established to increase efficiency of healthcare delivery. In other words, when it comes to the debate on the best practices in healthcare, the aspect of time cannot be overlooked. In other words, the patient outcomes of the treatment process also depend on the response time. Some conditions such as diabetes trigger other related conditions such as high blood pressure and inconsistent glucose levels in the body. These are issues that if not resolved within the shortest time possible could see patients even lose their lives.
As mentioned above, the use of radiofrequency transmissions and other related technologies has enabled the medical professionals to understand the condition of the patients at any given time. With this understanding, the treatment process has been simplified real time because of the close coordination between the patients and nurses. It should be noted that information forms the primary basis of the treatment process. A lack of information is an indication that the decision making process will definitely be delayed which means that the condition of the patient could worsen off by the time they are attended to. The ability to fast-track the progress of the patient has become key in resolving some of the key issues that affect the patients with long-term conditions that have been claiming many lives in the United States today.
Telemedicine has relieved the nursing homes of the burden to provide round-the-clock care for the patients suffering from complex medical conditions. As mentioned earlier, tele healthcare has made it possible to gather data from the patients which is further used in the decision making process. The pressure that used to be witnessed in then healthcare facilities has been eased significantly with the increasing need to enhance outcomes and make the treatment process as efficient as possible (Wade et.al, 2016).
Controversies Surrounding Tele Healthcare
In as much as tele healthcare has eased the treatment process significantly, the has come another burden to the patient and the nursing homes to get the necessary equipment to facilitate the treatment process. It follows that according to Collins et.al, (2017), the healthcare industry whether private or state healthcare organizations are grappling with the challenge of underfunding and budget deficits. It is important to underscore the fact that the treatment process by use of telemedicine is also increasingly technical. This is because of the technology that comes in between the coordination of technology and delivery of healthcare. Acquisition of the necessary equipment has become a key challenge in the nursing practice.
The issue of network is also a challenge. This is especially for the patients who reside in remote areas which are network deprived. Then coordination of the technological gadgets that are used in tele healthcare cannot work properly without proper technological connections. Whenever there are mishaps in information flows, the consequences of such a situation could be dire. It follows that medical practitioners may be unable to fast-track the condition of the patients in the short-term, something that could lead to delayed care.
The culture of technical meetings with the patients has made it difficult to adopt tele health in the nursing practice. For instance, there are patients who are used to face to face meetings with the medical professionals. There are others who are not educated hence efficiency of treatment cannot be overlooked in this equation of healthcare practice. The use of technology for these parties could sound challenging especially when it comes to interpreting the various indications of the gadgets. This is a key challenge that has significantly undermined the treatment process.
Possible Challenges when Using Tele Healthcare
Network and level of education are key challenges when using tele-healthcare. Network is required in the transmission of information from the patients to the medical professionals and back. The challenge of network is especially witnessed in the remote areas. The level of education has impact on how efficient the technology gadgets are in helping the patients to transmit data and any inquiries to their respective facilities. Other issues include the level of training, cultural competencies, resource availability among others.
Technology Contributions to Healthcare
The contributions of technology to the healthcare are both positive and negative. The positive significance of technology include reduced costs, enhanced information sharing, efficiency, accuracy, speedy treatments, emergency responses, reduction in workloads among the medical professionals among others. Misdiagnosis is a primary challenge undermining the healthcare practices. Any case of misdiagnosis is inherited in the entire treatment process. Other challenges include lack of standard practices in then healthcare to facilitate tele health services.
In conclusion, tele healthcare has extended its beneficial aspects to different sets of capacities including patients, providers, communities and government. Patients are no longer required to travel to distant specialists to acquire medical attention. This is being done conveniently in their homes. Circuit riding specialists using tele healthcare approaches are saving substantial amounts of time. Some of the challenges associated with it include technical problems, safety concerns such as confidentiality and data losses and interface problems. The benefits, however, outweigh the challenges by a large margin.
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Dorsey, E. R., & Topol, E. J. (2016). State of telehealth. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(2), 154-161.
Kaambwa, B., Ratcliffe, J., Shulver, W., Killington, M., Taylor, A., Crotty, M., … & Kidd, M. R. (2017). Investigating the preferences of older people for telehealth as a new model of healthcare service delivery: A discrete choice experiment. Journal of telemedicine and telecare, 23(2), 301-313.
Lee, A. C. W., & Billings, M. (2016). Telehealth implementation in a skilled nursing facility: case report for physical therapist practice in Washington. Physical therapy, 96(2), 252-259.
Polinski, J. M., Barker, T., Gagliano, N., Sussman, A., Brennan, T. A., & Shrank, W. H. (2016). Patients’ satisfaction with and preference for telehealth visits. Journal of general internal medicine, 31(3), 269-275.
Wade, V. A., Taylor, A. D., Kidd, M. R., & Carati, C. (2016). Transitioning a home telehealth project into a sustainable, large-scale service: a qualitative study. BMC health services research, 16(1), 183.
Gulla, V. (2018). Telehealth networks for hospital services: New methodologies. Hershey, PA: Medical Information Science Reference.
Helen, M. (2017). Fundamental aspects of long term conditions: A handbook for students of nursing and health. London: Quay Books, a division of MA Healthcare.