I have seen the word telehealth on numerous occasions but I do not really know what it means. So, I looked it up today and this is what I found out.
Telehealth is the use of electronic information and technologies such as computers and mobile devices to gain access to health care services remotely and manage your health care. They may be the technologies we use from home such as the internet, video-conferencing, and more. I am sure many of us have heard that the internet has transformed our modern life. It has changed how we keep in touch with family and friends, purchase goods and services, and even search for information about health problems.
It aims to make health care more accessible to people who live in rural communities. Through telehealth, services are more easily and convenient for people with limited mobility, time or transport. It also enables easy and fast access to medical specialists as well as offer support for health care self-management.
An example of how telehealth can help is if a person has diabetes, he or she could do the following :-
- Use a mobile phone or tablet to upload medications, dosage and blood sugar level for review by a health practitioner who would respond electronically.
- Use an app to estimate how much insulin he/she needs based on the diet and exercise level.
- Place order for medications and testing supplies online
- Get email, text or phone reminders for a flu shot, foot exam or other preventive care.
Another example of how telehealth can enhance care via technology is by allowing immediate consultation for people with mental health condition. The stigma connected to mental illness may also discourage individuals from receiving the needed care. There are patients who avoid seeking treatment for fear of being recognized while visiting a clinic for diagnosis.
They can benefit from counselors who conduct virtual consults during initial diagnosis or recommendations for admissions or treatments. With video consultation, patients will receive the care they need in the comfort of their home and remain confidential. One such platform that offers counseling online is BetterHelp. Patients can now get professional counseling that is affordable and convenient. At BetterHelp, counseling is available via text messages, live chat, speaking on the phone and video conferencing with the counselor.
The Berkeley Well-Being Institute has done an extensive study and found BetterHelp to be as effective as face-to-face counseling. When the geographical barrier is removed between patients and health providers, the patients can have timely access and quality care when they need them the most. Telehealth is an impactful way of delivering healthcare. I am glad that I looked up its meaning and I now know what I can do if someone I know is suffering and needs help.