It is indeed true that the internet has transformed the modern world, and it is hard to imagine a world without the internet. The utility of the internet, however, goes beyond keeping in touch with our friends and purchasing services and products.
Teleconsultation is another online service that is changing the world and it is a term frequently used interchangeably with Telehealth.
What is Teleconsultation?
A range of telehealth tools is nowadays available for patients to manage their healthcare. So, one can obtain health services that will be utilitarian for one.
Telehealth services were vastly popularized during the times of the spread of the pandemic. It was a trend to stay, and telehealth applications find widespread applications to date.
Telehealth is characterized by remote access to health care services, as facilitated by communication technologies and digital information. A patient is empowered to access this interactive information over a PC, or mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
One may use telehealth information from the comfort of one’s home. Alternatively, healthcare professionals such as nurses may obtain this information when in a mobile van or a medical office, and benefit the patients in rural areas using this information. So, telehealth works towards enhancing supportive healthcare.
Other terms used to refer to telehealth or teleconsultation are m-health (mobile health) or e-health. The top goals of teleconsultation are as follows:
- Simplify the access to healthcare for the people who reside in remote communities in any nation.
- In the event of the spread of pandemics, teleconsultation keeps others around and yourself safe.
- For an entire range of conditions, teleconsultation makes primary care available.
- Simplifies access to medical specialists.
- Guarantees higher degrees of coordination and communication among the patient and the health care team members.
- Makes advice available such that health care takes the format of self-management.
Top examples of teleconsultation services:
1. Virtual visits
A few of the clinics leverage teleconsultation for offering remote care in the format of virtual visits. So, a patient can see a healthcare professional via phone chats or online video.
Virtual visits are useful for making available healthcare for a range of conditions, including migraines, diabetes, skin conditions, depression, colds, coughs, anxiety, and COVID-19.
Before the virtual visit initiates, the healthcare team is likely to give out forms or information that you can return after filling them up. They make sessions available to simplify the use of technology like text chat and microphones for the patient.
2. Other options
There are cases wherein patients prefer to avail of phone-based or web-based services for accessing healthcare. This nature of healthcare initiates with a question-and-answer phase. The patient benefits by knowing the answers to the FAQs.
Herein, the nurse practitioner is likely to prescribe drugs or telemedicine or offer handy tips for medical care at home.
This form of healthcare could possibly have some drawbacks. As an example, it may be difficult to pull up details from your medical history.
3. Remote monitoring
There are cases wherein the intervention of technology allows the healthcare team to remotely monitor your team. A few examples of such technologies include:
- Mobile apps or web apps wherein a patient can upload the data to be accessed by his health care team. A diabetic could upload information such as food logs or blood sugar levels.
- Devices that wirelessly send data such as blood sugar or blood pressure levels after measuring them.
- Wearable technology.
- Devices that remind you to take medication or do exercises via notifications.
4. Providers interacting with providers
When a consultation takes place, a primary healthcare provider can seek and access input from a specialist regarding any matters associated with treatment or diagnosis.
Similarly, a primary healthcare professional can send exam notes, test results, history, or X-rays for the specialist to review. The specialist’s response could be in the format of an email or a virtual visit. He may request a face-to-face meeting.
This way, unnecessary visits to a specialist or elongated wait times are overcome.
5. Patient Portal
An online patient portal sometimes called an E-Clinic is made available by a range of primary care clinics. Compared to an email, this makes a safer way of contacting your healthcare provider.
Via a healthcare portal, a patient can:
- Message one’s nurse or healthcare provider
- Request prescription refills
- Review summaries and test results of earlier visits
- Schedule visits
A patient portal may include facilities for connecting with a specialist whose attention you may be seeking.
6. Personal health apps
A range of health apps has nowadays been made available that aid people with the organization of medical information at a single dedicated repository. They let you:
- Store personal health information
- Calculate and track your calories consumed or burnt
- Record and share vital signs
- Record your daily step count or other physical activity
- Schedule drug consumption reminders
7. Personal health records
An electronic personal health record system (PHR system) refers to a collection of information associated with one’s health. One can control and maintain this information.
One can access a PHR app at any time over one’s laptop, PC, tablet, or smartphone, if one has an internet connection. PHR let you review notes, X-rays, and lab results shared by your provider. This information can also be shared with other providers with your consent.
If an emergency occurs, vital information can be instantly shared with emergency staff. This includes information such as drug allergies and the prescribed drugs.
The potential of telehealth
Undoubtedly, teleconsultation withstands great potential to improve the quality of healthcare. Access to healthcare simplifies for people.
This coordinates healthcare while making it more efficient. A virtual visit can be facilitated at any time, such as at your home or when commuting.
The value of teleconsultation redefines in case you are keeping unwell or are unable to commute, or if you reside some distance away from a medical center. Just as an instance, COVID-19 is a contagious disease. But, healthcare providers were able to intervene remotely to offer medical care. Providers can diagnose and treat COVID-19 remotely to date.
If a health specialist resides away from your locality, virtual visits can come to be very useful.
In conclusion, teleconsultation, or the use of technology such as video conferencing to provide medical consultations remotely, has the potential to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered. It can increase access to care in rural areas, and improve patient outcomes by allowing for more frequent check-ins and follow-ups. It can also decrease the need for in-person visits, reducing the spread of infectious diseases and reducing the strain on healthcare systems.
Overall, teleconsultation has the potential to transform healthcare, making it more accessible, efficient, and effective for patients and providers alike.