Response on Telehealth
Thank you for your response. Your point of view about telehealth is very insightful; you defined telehealth as the facilitation and delivery of healthcare services through telecommunication and communication technologies. It involves providing health information services, medical care, and patient education to enhance patient health outcomes. The main methods of delivering these services include using live videos, storing and forwarding information, and remote monitoring of patients. The primary purpose of establishing telehealth services is to enhance healthcare delivery for rural communities and individuals living within regions without access to healthcare services and professionals. It aims to reduce healthcare provision disparity between rural and urban dwellers.
Telehealth services facilitate the equitable distribution of healthcare services even to vulnerable communities (James et al. 2021). Its use reduces the prevalence and causes of urgent care visits and emergency rooms. It also saves costs incurred during visitations and is more convenient for patients with mobility issues. However, it faces the challenge of developing nurse-patient relationships that can only be established through physical contact during clinical visits. The information acquired regarding the patient is based on what the patient is willing to share with the professional, undermining its usefulness and effectiveness in addressing a condition.
James, S., Ashley, C., Williams, A., Desborough, J., Mcinnes, S., Calma, K., … & Halcomb, E. J. (2021). Experiences of Australian primary healthcare nurses using telehealth during COVID-19: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 11(8), e049095.
Great response! I agree with you that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically influenced the use of telehealth services. Since its onset, clinical visits within healthcare facilities have reduced significantly, thus facilitating the use of telehealth services for healthcare providers. As a result, online services and telehealth have become essential for use in the delivery of healthcare services as more people get concerned about the need for isolation. Telehealth, therefore, involves providing healthcare services to patients remotely regardless of their location using modern technologies (Romanovs et al. 2021). Patients with mobility issues can access healthcare services remotely by communicating with their preferred provider using phones and computers.
I agree that telehealth services can benefit patients even though they cannot wholly replace clinical physical visits. Patients are involved in their healthcare concerns, communicating with providers about their healthcare plans and treatment procedures to enhance health outcomes. Its use saves time and costs incurred during physical clinical visits. When effective communication is utilized within the platform, caregivers and patients can effectively communicate an important aspect of healthcare needs to address healthcare concerns, thus improving patient health outcomes. Telehealth services are convenient for modern practices as they facilitate healthcare provision to inaccessible regions.
Romanovs, A., Sultanovs, E., Buss, E., Merkuryev, Y., & Majore, G. (2021, April). Challenges and Solutions for Resilient Telemedicine Services. In 2020 IEEE 8th Workshop on Advances in Information, Electronic and Electrical Engineering (AIEEE) (pp. 1-7). IEEE.
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“Telehealth is defined as the delivery and facilitation of health and health-related services including medical care, provider and patient education, health information services, and self-are via telecommunications and digital communication technologies” (What is telehealth, 2018). The four telehealth modalities include live video, storing and forwarding information, m Health, and remote patient monitoring (Frey & Chiu, 2021). The initial purpose of introducing telehealth for healthcare delivery before the pandemic was to provide equitable access to care and address the needs of urban and rural communities (Frey & Chiu, 2021). With more Advanced practice nurses (APRNs) taking the role of primary practitioners for patients in these vulnerable communities, telehealth literacy is an essential tool that nurse practitioners can use. As of August 2020, 89.7% of the 290,000 US APRNs are primary care practitioners (Frey & Chiu, 2021). APRNs can see patients virtually, improving access to care and decreasing the prevalence of emergency room or urgent care visits. This care provided through telehealth is thorough, high quality, convenient, and cost-saving. One of the most extensive critiques of telehealth is that it is impersonal and takes away the nurse-patient relationship that one might experience in a traditional clinic experience. Face-to-face encounters allow for a more personal experience. They may be necessary for certain types of visits, including when auscultation or palpation is needed to collect assessment data (Gajarawala & Pelkowski, 2021). Information may be missed with virtual visits due to data inaccuracy. With telehealth visits, the clinician is limited to the information the patient is willing to share. For this reason, the clinician may be treating subjectively versus objectively. Establishing a trusting relationship is essential in ensuring that patients divulge accurate and informative data affecting the treatment plan. Patients need the opportunity to develop familiarity with their APRN. This helps to boost patient satisfaction due to better patient outcomes since the care is tailored to the individual (Gajarawala & Pelkowski, 2021). Eye contact is a tool that APRNs can use to convey to the patient that they are listening and engaged. It is also essential to maintain patient privacy. Data transmission between patient and provider must remain private and secure, abiding by HIPPA laws. Some states even require a face-to-face visit before a practitioner can prescribe medications (Gajarawala & Pelkowski, 2021
The Global Covid pandemic has been the impetus for the growth of the concept of telehealth. For the first time in recent memory, Doctor’s offices and clinics closed their doors to in-person visits and offered telehealth services to patients on a large scale. As the COVID-19 virus spread, fears of contact spread, and many were encouraged to isolate at home, using delivery services and online processes for much of their daily needs. Thus, reliance on telehealth for routine medical screenings and refills has become the norm. Westwood (2021) suggests that most people view telehealth as a way for everyone, regardless of location, to access healthcare services. Her study addresses explicitly prenatal and maternal care, but the concept is the same. Patients who, for whatever reason, may be unable to access face-to-face visits can receive health care via the computer or phone.
For Nurse Practitioners,, telehealth can benefit their patients, but I do not think it should exclusively replace office visits. Patients can aid in their healthcare by tracking blood pressure, heart rate, or blood sugar levels and using this data with their provider to design their healthcare pathway. However, real-life auscultation and vibrations are imperative for complete assessments. I think that telehealth can be beneficial for routine care or minor ailments but should not replace hands-on healthcare unless no other options are available.
Telehealth provides a good platform for the therapeutic communication technique of active listening. By focusing on the screen, patients can feel that the provider is focused solely on them and can offer real-time feedback. Meyers et al. (2020) indicate that listening is critical to effective communication between provider and patient and can significantly affect patient outcomes. Patients and providers can focus on each other using the telehealth platform with fewer distractions and communicate more comprehensively over shorter periods.
I believe that in the corporate medicine world, telehealth is here to stay. It provides a space for routine care and treatment of minor ailments. Providers can interview patients, send e-scripts for prescriptions, and have more time for acute issues in their populations.
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