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Is Telehealth the Future?

Telehealth and remote patient monitoring enable healthcare providers to monitor and provide care to patients who cannot conveniently leave their homes to receive care. For patients who may be distant from their providers, telehealth allows providers to see patients more frequently. Telehealth is growing in popularity because of the greater emphasis on patient health outcomes. Healthcare providers are now more interested than ever in providing extra care between in-person visits. Telehealth may also be empowering patients. Shorter, more frequent sessions with the patient can help ensure patient progress between physical meetings. As technology advances, it becomes even easier to adopt telehealth technology.

Acute Care and Telehealth

Patients with acute conditions such as cancer may only see their doctors once a month, yet they may benefit from more frequent doctor visits. Acute conditions can change rapidly and adverse health outcomes may happen very quickly. In the past, frequent visits were difficult to coordinate. Some acute care patients could not get the care they needed in time and were more limited in what they could do, which often resulted in preventable hospitalizations.

While hospitalization is still necessary for many patients, some patients simply need to see their doctors more often. Telehealth enables these patients and their doctors to monitor health status information and communicate easily. Now, it is easier to create short appointments that allow patients to receive more frequent care and have their progress carefully observed by a doctor, even when they are unable to travel to a clinic or doctor's office. For many patients with serious conditions, this is particularly helpful.

Telehealth Tools

Smartphones, smartwatches, wearable sensors, implantable sensors and other technologies are shaping the telehealth field. Remote monitoring of patients using wearable technology is one example of how telehealth can provide doctors with relevant, real-time data about their patients. Wearables may alert physicians and other healthcare providers to changes so they can quickly help their patients, contact emergency services or intervene in some other way.

With telehealth and remote monitoring, physicians now have even more tools to help improve patient health outcomes. Doctors can track, observe and communicate with their patients in new ways that may help more patients obtain better healthcare. As technology advances, these tools become more advanced and increasingly offer new possibilities for the future of healthcare.

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Sources:

Fierce Healthcare: How Telehealth Is Shaping the Future of Healthcare

Fierce Healthcare: HIMSS 2017: Telehealth, Remote Monitoring and Home Care Help Providers Meet Patients Where They Are

Phys.org: Smartwatches Connect Intensive Care Doctors and Their Patients

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