TeleHealth: How Does It Work?

Telehealth is a term that encompasses a variety of healthcare delivery systems that use technology to enable the delivery of health services without the patient having to be physically present at the doctor’s office. This is beneficial in providing these services to people who live in remote areas or individuals who cannot access quality healthcare.

Benefits of Telehealth

Telehealth is rapidly becoming an increasingly popular way to provide healthcare services to people worldwide, particularly in areas where people do not have ready access to medical care. Telehealth offers several distinct benefits to providers, patients, and their loved ones:

  1. Increased Access: Telehealth increases access to healthcare services for people in remote locations who might not otherwise be able to access quality care. 
  2. Improved Patient Outcomes: Telehealth can help to improve patient outcomes because it enables healthcare providers to monitor and track patient progress in real-time. This can result in quicker treatment and better outcomes.
  3. Increased Efficiency: Telehealth helps reduce the time patients have to wait to be seen and the amount of time that needs to be spent by providers to complete routine care tasks.
  4. Reduced Expense: Telehealth is more cost-efficient than traditional healthcare delivery methods and can help reduce healthcare expenses overall.

Types of Telehealth

There are several types of telehealth services, each offering different advantages and opportunities for healthcare providers. 

  1. Video Chat: Video chat services, such as Skype and FaceTime, enable healthcare providers to communicate with their patients and determine whether a face-to-face visit is necessary. 
  2. Remote Patient Monitoring: This type of telehealth service uses remote monitoring technologies to enable healthcare providers to remotely monitor and track a patient’s health status. 
  3. Store-and-Forward: Store-and-forward technology allows healthcare providers to send medical data and images to another provider for analysis and treatment.
  4. Mobile Health Apps: Mobile health apps enable healthcare providers to provide care and monitor their patient’s health through a smartphone or tablet app.

How Telehealth Works

Telehealth enables healthcare providers to provide services through various methods, including phone calls, text messages, email, video conferencing, and more. The process generally begins when patients contact their healthcare provider through telemedicine platforms like SeriousMD to schedule an appointment. During this appointment, the provider will assess the patient’s needs, discuss their options and develop a care plan. Then, the patient and their provider will decide which telehealth method works best for their situation. 

If video chat is used, the patient will be contacted with instructions on how to log into the video chat service. They will then be able to speak directly with their provider, who will provide care. If store-and-forward is used, the patient will send an image or medical data to the provider for evaluation. The provider can then review the information and provide feedback to the patient. 

Telehealth can also be used for remote patient monitoring, where the patient can monitor their own health status without needing to be present in a medical office. In this case, the patients will be provided with a monitoring device, such as a wearable fitness tracker or a smartphone app, which they can use to monitor their health. 

For more information about how telehealth works, check out Serious MD, an EMR, telemedicine, and practice management application that enables healthcare personnel to transform their practices into an efficient operations.