Telehealth is defined as the use of digital communication technologies to provide health services, health education, and other healthcare-related services to patients who are in remote areas. The patients and health professionals exchange medical information and the provider can examine, test, and diagnose the sick at a later period when he has compiled all the necessary information.
There are numerous technologies that have been developed by experts to facilitate the delivery of telehealth services to as many patients as possible utilizing virtual healthcare. Similarly, in the light of the development of many virtual platforms that allow both audio and audio meetings, it is now possible for the patients to interact with medical specialists live as they exchange reports geared toward treatment and management of highly chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and heart diseases as well as other conditions.
Below are the top telehealth technologies that have been deployed to assist in the provision of health services even when the patients and health facilities are in different locations.
The mobile apps are the leading resources that are assisting in making quality healthcare reality and especially in first world countries. Almost every year, researchers and health biotechnologists are burning the midnight oil to design advanced web-based systems that have the capacity to monitor conditions such as blood glucose and an option to upload results, therefore, ensuring the doctor can act rapidly and offer telehealth solutions. There are also other wireless devices that patients can use under the guidance of the caregivers to measure their conditions and transmit the results for action. For instance, there are medical tools that enable the detection of abnormal respiratory functioning, blood pressure, tremors, sleep patterns, oxygen levels,
among other conditions. These devices are now being used by people of all ages, both young and old not forgetting to mention pregnant women. Furthermore, there are mobile apps that have been designed specifically to provide platforms for ordering and selling medicine online where a patient can inquire and the drugs are delivered through courier services.
Some countries such as Canada and Cuba have seen a breakthrough in the establishment of citizen patient portals where everybody’s personal health records are kept securely and can be accessed when a person wants to communicate to a nurse or doctor to request an appointment, drugs prescriptions, and evaluation of a certain condition that requires an emergency response. The health portals are developed in a way that is threat free and is customized since the patients have direct control of their personal health via a computer, tablet, or a mobile phone and can only allow a doctor or any other relevant officer when a need arises. Additionally, health portals have been effective in ensuring access to healthcare to most people in rural areas through Remote Patient Monitoring systems (RPMS).
Knowledge and information exchange programs
Telehealth online technologies have also been an enabler to the health fraternity in which they are educating one another on how to solve related problems. In fact, this has been helpful where departments of health in different countries coordinate to brainstorm with each other as well as benchmarking even without traveling but through telehealth solutions. An example is where primary doctors consult with specialist officers, ask questions, and get answers for interpretation of diagnosis and X Rays so as to give room for the right treatment procedures.
Telehealth technology has seen many patients acquire quality healthcare through digital communications that promote immediate solutions to sick people especially those in remote areas away from health centers and hospitals. Therefore it has resulted in new models of business while advancing telehealth services outreach to more patients as well as increasing their engagement levels with the medical fraternity.