Seniors Can Remain Healthy at Home With Telehealth
Telehealth eliminates the traditional “brick and mortar” barriers to health care access, as well as time constraints. It uses a combination of secure video conferencing, digital imaging, mobile devices, and electronic medical records for seniors and doctors to conduct medical visits. Today’s demand for health services far outweighs the supply of providers and resources. As the population ages, and the number of people with chronic disease runs off the charts, the health care delivery system is overburdened. Let’s face it, the way most of us are accessing medical care today can be a real struggle. For many seniors, it’s even more of a struggle to get the doctor because they usually have to rely on a family member or caregiver for transportation.
As a result, many seniors do not pursue routine healthcare visits and wait until they are really sick to seek treatment. They end up going to the Emergency Room, which is the costliest way to enter the healthcare system. Technologies are available that remotely capture and report health data among patients and providers. These are gaining in popularity in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, because they allow seniors to stay at home. Telehealth provides the same quality of care as a face-to-face visit; improving satisfaction for patients and physicians.
Remote Patient Monitors
Wireless mobile devices and remote patient monitors give patients freedom to travel and take care of their health from anywhere. Remote monitoring tools such as glucose monitors, blood pressure cuffs, thermometers, and emergency alert devices help improve self-care and peace of mind. These devices allow patients to record their vital signs once or twice daily and share the data with their healthcare team. Usually, a medical assistant or nurse receives the data and intervenes when necessary, to prevent adverse events. There are also technologies designed to help patients understand their medications and remind them when it’s time to take them.
Clinical services can be provided in two modes, Live video, also called real-time and store-and forward. Both real-time and store and forward telehealth can be practiced at a clinic with a clinical presenter or technologist to present you to the physician on the other end of the camera. The delivery methods used are determined by the type of information being exchanged, and the frequency and urgency with which treatment needs must be addressed.
Telehealth Prevents Hospitalization
For example, a patient living in a nursing home with pneumonia can avoid hospitalization with telehealth visits. With the assistance of her nurse, the patient interacts with her doctor on a mobile cart monitor, and when prompted, the nurse reports the vital signs. The nurse helps the doctor conduct heart and lung sound evaluations with the connected stethoscope. In addition, all medications can be ordered and the nurse writes them down, for administration to the patient after the visit. All the patient and her daughter’s questions are asked and answered in real-time. If the patient needs lab work or x-rays, the physician can remotely order them and the patient can have her tests done at the nursing home.
The lab and x-ray techs can conduct the tests, and enter the results, images, and imaging reports into the physician’s system, which integrates securely with the patients’ medical record. This is an example of the store and forward method. The doctor is able to follow up with the patient via video conference to assess and continue to treat her illness. In this case, the combination of live and store and forward modes allowed our patient to get the care she needed to avoid immediate hospitalization because of her pneumonia. This is a benefit, because elderly patients often become confused or depressed in the hospital, which increases their mortality rate.
Other forms of telehealth include electronic medical records, email, electronic patient portals, cell phone applications and online educational sessions for patients, and the clinical team. When these technologies are used in combination, they can dramatically increase communication between patients and healthcare professionals. In addition, avoiding costly hospitalizations increases quality of life for seniors and reduces unnecessary healthcare spending.
Your Road to Success Begins With IMST
If you want to learn more about telehealth program development, we would love to talk to you! Making an appointment is easy! Just follow the link to our online calendar and select the date and time that’s best for you! You can schedule with either Aneel or Heather. Please visit our website www.imsttelehealth.com to learn about our company and our program development process.
It’s our mission at IMST Telehealth Consulting to help organizations embrace telehealth with confidence and clarity. You can count on our knowledge and expertise, because we are nationally certified Telehealth professionals. We stay on top of telehealth legislation, reimbursement models, and the latest in technology. We’ll work with you and your team step-by-step to develop a successful program that’s based on evidence, quality, and value; with the ability to measure and monitor performance.