Tag Archives: ehealth

What Services are Covered by Telemedicine?

telemedicine services

Telemedicine uses information technologies and telecommunication to deliver clinical healthcare and assistance. For many patients, telemedicine solves the problem of distance and provides access to medical facilities and services that may not be available to them in their immediate area. This field uses email, two-way video calling, smart phones and many other forms of telecommunication technologies.

Nearly 40 years ago, hospitals started using telemedicine to provide extended, out-patient care to patients who would normally have difficulty travelling to the clinic or hospital. Once patients and medical practitioners witnessed the benefits, telemedicine spread rapidly across the globe and has now been integrated into the operations of many private physicians’ offices, hospitals, home health agencies, specialty departments, and also in patients’ homes and workplaces.

Services Provided by Telecommunication

Telecommunication is used extensively in many disciplines and human dependency on it has made it a vital component of our daily routines and activities. There are many services provided by telemedicine:

Patient Health and Medical Information

The Internet is a world of its own. You can find information about virtually everything. The Internet has become many patients’ first stop for information about what they’re feeling. Telemedicine can be helpful in helping patients decide if they need to seek further medical treatment. Telemedicine can also connect patients with similar diseases or difficulties in online discussions and forums.

Primary Care and Specialist Referral

Telemedicine has provided a way for primary care physicians to consult with specialists without leaving their office. This kind of communication usually happens via live interactive video and some programs even allow for collaborative viewing of diagnostic images, video clips and other patient data.

Education

The Internet allows for live or recorded medical seminars by specialists’ and professors to be aired around the globe and viewed and uploaded from anywhere.

Remote Patient Monitoring

This includes home telehealth, which allows remote diagnostic testing facilities or home health agencies to collect data such as blood glucose or ECG readings for evaluation. For some chronic illnesses, this real-time monitoring is a great advantage to proper maintenance of the condition.

What is Telemedicine and What Telemedicine Services Delivery Mechanisms Currently Exist

telemedicine

What is Telemedicine?

Formerly defined as the exchange of medical data from one site to another through electronic means to help improve the health condition of patients, the definition of telemedicine now takes on the use of technologies and applications like video conferencing, email, smart phones and other similar tools.

Telemedicine started out about 4 decades ago when some hospitals outspread healthcare services to patients living in isolated regions. Since then, telemedicine has been adopted by an increasing number of healthcare providers. Today, it is going mainstream as hospitals and clinics are making it a core part of their ongoing operations.

It is important to understand that telemedicine is not a separate form of healthcare, but enhancement of healthcare services through the use of technologies. To integrate telemedicine into their services, healthcare service providers make huge investments in information technology and infrastructure development. Moreover, when it comes to the reimbursement of fees, authorities make no separation between on-site service provision and services provided via telemedicine at remote sites.

Even though telehealth is interchangeably used to refer to telemedicine, but sometimes it is defined as a broader remote healthcare service that does not necessarily involve clinical procedures. However, there is no difference in ATA’s definition for telehealth and telemedicine. There is another term called “health information technology,” which refers to the electronic recording of medical data while telemedicine refers to the provision of real clinical services via technology.

Telemedicine Delivery Mechanism

Telemedicine can be provided via a variety of mechanisms, including the following:

● Networked delivery mechanism: This mechanism connects tertiary healthcare providers with remote clinics and health centers in outlying regions. The mechanism makes use of high-speed connectivity lines or the Internet to create linkages between different sites. According to ATA, the number of telemedicine networks in the US stands at 200 while 3,000 sites have been linked under the networks.

● Point to point linkages: This mechanism uses private, high-speed point-to-point linkages to provide healthcare services directly to the patients or subcontract special services to autonomous healthcare providers. Subcontracted services comprise radiology services, stroke evaluation, cognitive health care and similar services.

● Monitoring center networks: This mechanism is used to provide healthcare services to patients in their homes. It extends healthcare services like cardiac, pulmonary and fetal examining to patients at their homes. Normally, landline or wireless Internet connectivity is employed for communication between the patients and the monitoring centers.

● Internet-based services: This mechanism is used to deliver direct healthcare services to patients over the World Wide Web.

To sum it up, telemedicine has revolutionized the healthcare sector. The advent of advanced technologies has supported telemedicine and the growth of telemedicine is expected to grow even at a higher speed in the years ahead.

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