How can a telehealth solution be used?

How can a telehealth solution be used?

Telehealth technology provides more convenient ways for patients to access advice and care. As stated in the NHS long term plan, there are around 307 million patient consultations at GP surgeries each year. Some GPs are already offering patients the choice of telephone or online consultations, and over the next 5 years, every patient in England will have the right to choose this option. (https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/chapter-1-a-new-service-model-for-the-21st-century/4-digitally-enabled-primary-and-outpatient-care-will-go-mainstream-across-the-nhs/ ).

Telehealth solutions are already being used within many different medical fields, whether it’s in a hospital or ambulatory settings, clinicians remotely consulting with patients, training sessions, surgery viewings, cross-site trust meetings or multi-disciplinary team meetings. Telehealth is the best way for healthcare providers to expand access to patient care, particularly for those who live in rural areas where they may have very limited access to in-person healthcare.

Currently, some of the most common uses for telehealth solutions are:

  • Telepsychiatry – According to MHFA England, only a quarter of young people with a diagnosable mental health issue get access to the treatment they need. Telepsychiatry allows psychiatrists to provide treatment remotely, massively increasing people’s access to professionals.
  • Telerehabilitation – Allows medical professionals to deliver rehab services (such as physiotherapy) remotely.
  • Teleradiology – This is one of the earliest fields of telehealth where it was developed to expand access to diagnosticians of x-rays. Teleradiology solutions allow providers at one location to send patients x-rays and records securely to a radiologist at another location, speeding up the process to get a consult on the patients’ conditions.
  • Teleoncology – Provides more convenient care to patients with cancer, allowing patients to consult with oncologists over video and speed up diagnosis.
  • Telenephrology – Allows physicians to consult with a nephrologist about patients with kidney disease over video.
  • Teledermatology – Patients can show skin abnormalities to a physician over video for diagnosis, or a physician can send videos/photos of the problem for remote diagnosis. This can speed up the diagnosis process.
  • Teleobstetrics – Obstetricians can provide prenatal care remotely. This could include recording a baby’s heart at one location and forwarding it on for diagnosis at another facility.
  • Teleophthalmology – Allows ophthalmologists to examine patients’ eyes, provide a diagnosis or check-in about treatments remotely.
  • Telepathology – Pathologists can share pathology remotely for diagnosis, research, and education.

Some of the most common conditions that are diagnosed/treated by telehealth include; allergies, asthma, arthritic pain, bronchitis, colds and flu, diarrhoea, infections, insect bites, pharyngitis, conjunctivitis, rashes, respiratory infections, sinusitis, skin inflammations, cellulitis, sore throats, sprains and strains, bladder infections, UTIs, sports injuries, and vomiting.

The list of uses goes on and telehealth is only continuing to advance in its abilities and be introduced into more healthcare fields. Over time telehealth will help the industry run even more efficiently by enabling faster diagnosis and treatment, reducing travel and waiting times, and improving communications.

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