What is Telehealth? by Michelle Kindle RN,BSN, Bridge Home Health & Hospice
Telehealth is a method of remote health care provided in the home to improve access to quality care, reduce hospitalizations and lower costs. Recently, telehealth applications have expanded to improve access to care and communication, especially for remote, vulnerable, or marginalized populations.
Telehealth provides a wide range of services such as transitional care for those with heart failure and other chronic illnesses, palliative care, home-based care, behavioral and mental health services.
With the use of telehealth, providers can deliver a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic management services. Examples of such services include virtual visits via live video, remote monitoring, and provider-to-patient communication and messaging tools. These technologies are designed to be patient specific.
Virtual visits and remote monitoring can reduce the frequency of home visits by health care clinicians, reduce cost and reduce the burden of transportation for those with mobility limitations. Both the patient and family will be provided with education and other support tools for managing care at home.
Although telehealth began more than four decades ago with a small number of hospitals providing services to those in remote areas, it is still limited. However, as policy makers reduce regulatory barriers and providers focus on improving telehealth strategies, it is likely that telehealth will be implemented universally.
By improving access to health care, telehealth can help reduce unmet needs and improve quality of life for the patient and their families.