Let’s Talk Telehealth!

What is telehealth? Healthcare services provided over the web, text, video and remote interacting between patient and their Provider.

What are the benefits of telehealth? Easier access to healthcare and decreased cost for starters! Everyone is busy these days…convenience is what we are all seeking. Most people have been in the position of wanting to schedule a visit with their Healthcare Provider, but simply do not have the time. People in rural areas have little access to convenient healthcare options. With telehealth, they have easier access to proper care. This is ideal if they need a visit with a specialist. If all we had to do was get on our computers to have a healthcare related visit, wouldn’t we be more apt to make that appointment?

Quality of care is the main concern of Healthcare Providers. With telehealth patients can be closely monitored. Patients can transmit blood pressure results, glucose readings, protime results and other in-home tests they perform on a regular basis.

The Veteran’s Association is offering some amazing services via telehealth. These include speech pathology appointments, mental health visits, surgery consults, visits with their family practitioner for medication refills/changes and much more. The VA is making it easy and affordable for our veteran’s to receive the care they need. Read more here http://www.telehealth.va.gov/real-time/index.asp

Many facilities are offering 24/7 web based services. Internet Medical Clinics is based in Texas and offers their patients to “consult with their healthcare providers, receive laboratory services, medications, diagnostic testing, and more. Online access to the Virtual Healthcare Delivery System for appointment requests, prescription refills, “virtual” consultations with healthcare providers, and online medical records”. UC Davis Children’s Hospital has provided telemedicine consultations to over 5,500 children in California. They also offer  specialty services, rural telehealth care, teleradiology and acute care.

Of course the concept of telehealth requires up-to-date technology and training. Thanks to the FCC “The Healthcare Connect Fund” was created. This fund will help cover the costs of equipment, broadband internet, research, education and may even help cover the cost of facilities if it is the most cost-effective option. The annual cap is 4 million dollars.  Facts and criteria can be found here http://www.fcc.gov/document/healthcare-connect-fund-fact-sheet

Will online healthcare be the wave of the future? Time will tell if it is cost-effective and being used properly.

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