The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of telehealth — and it’s likely not going to stop here. As the world grows more reliant on technology, addressing healthcare needs online can soon be the preferred method for many patients.
If you’re a healthcare provider looking to add telehealth to your toolbox, you’ve probably wondered, “How does telehealth work?” This telehealth guide will address everything you need to know about this tool and how to get started!
How Does Telehealth Work?
First things first: what does ‘telehealth’ even mean, and how does telehealth work? Telehealth describes the usage of technology to deliver healthcare services. You can offer doctor’s appointments through phone calls, emails, messages, video calls, and more.
Setting up telehealth services doesn’t require a lot of effort on your part. All you need is an electronic device (a computer or a laptop works best, but you can use phones too) and reliable Wifi.
Telehealth Guide to Getting Started
There are different ways that you can offer medical services from a distance. You can, for instance, create a patient portal that allows your patients to communicate with you or set up digital appointments. This can be the preferred choice if you want to offer telehealth services that only require written communication.
If you would also like to offer virtual appointments, you can schedule these with phone calls or video calls.
You may also need to settle other details when getting started with telehealth. This can include informing your patients about the service and asking them for their consent.
Types of Telehealth
There are different types of telehealth that you can utilize. These are the most common services that enable you to get an in-depth understanding of your patients’ concerns.
Synchronous Telehealth Care
Synchronous care allows you to monitor or communicate with your patients in real-time. This can involve using video calls, phone calls, or text messages in order to check in on their condition or answer their questions.
Live conference calls will provide you with a greater understanding of the symptoms your patients are currently facing and will enable you to respond quickly to any concerns.
Unlike synchronous care, asynchronous telehealth does not happen in real-time. This occurs if you are sending messages with follow-up instructions after your appointment. Other examples also include sending through lab results or health information for future evaluation.
Remote Patient Monitoring
What happens if you need to monitor patients with ongoing concerns? This is something that may seem difficult to do with telehealth, but remote patient monitoring is possible with the right tools.
This type of telehealth will involve transmitting information from in-home devices at the patients’ homes to you. You can, for instance, set up devices like blood pressure monitors or pacemakers with your patients and allow the data to continuously be sent to you for review.
This enables you to give well-rounded support to patients who require special care. Usually, seniors will benefit most from this type of service. You can immediately be informed if something is wrong or if they have gotten into falls or accidents.
Yet another form of telehealth you can offer is mobile health, where patients can download digital applications that offer support in between medical appointments. They can, for instance, be used to monitor blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, or have instructions that a patient can access at all times. Apps can also be useful for sending notifications that remind your patients to undergo certain habits or treatment plans to aid their recovery!
Benefits of Telehealth
The benefits of telehealth are numerous, and being aware of them can help you address any patient concerns. Here are some of the ways telehealth can improve the delivery of healthcare services for you and your patients.
One of the greatest uses for telehealth is that you can improve the access to medical services for people who need them. Clients may, for instance, feel hesitant to go to mental health clinics in order to receive treatment. Having these services online will reduce the feelings of shame or stigma that a person may be concerned about, and enable them to benefit from the same level of treatment online.
Telehealth is also a great way to improve access for patients in rural areas, who may have to drive for hours to reach their closest clinics. Not only that, but these services can also benefit patients with limited mobility or limited access to transport.
The pandemic may have restricted access to healthcare as a result of public health concerns, but telehealth can allow you to still provide care for your patients.
Convenience and Flexibility
Gone are the days when you need to be at a certain place by a certain time. With telehealth, you can offer these services whether you are at home or in the office. This lack of constraints can be highly beneficial for your lifestyle and can allow you to make the most of your time.
Not only that, but you can schedule appointments according to your working habits. If you are more of a night owl, you may be able to offer appointments later on during the day. All that matters is that you have access to a reliable Internet connection, and you are good to go!
Using Telehealth to Offer Your Medical Services
If you have been wondering about getting started with telehealth, one of your first questions may be how does telehealth work for you and your patients. Telehealth is all about enabling communications online to reduce the need to travel and have face-to-face appointments.
You can adopt different types of telehealth services in order to provide the best care for your patients. If you have someone who needs constant monitoring, you can have in-home devices that transmit their data to you at all times. You can also have real-time video conferences for appointments.
The possibilities are endless with telehealth, and adopting this tool will come with various benefits!
Find out more about how we can help you connect with remote patients.