What is Telehealth?

Nurse saying hi to patient on computer

Have you ever wondered what is meant by the term telehealth? Simply put, telehealth is care provided without an in-person office visit, usually over the internet on a smartphone, computer, or tablet.

But that’s just the short definition. In reality, telehealth—sometimes known as telemedicine—is so much more.  

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), telehealth includes the ability of patients and their healthcare providers to send and receive messages via email, secure file exchange, or text messaging. 

 Telehealth also includes remote monitoring. Which is when a provider checks on patients at home. This type of remote monitoring typically involves using a medical device to capture vital signs or other healthcare data that helps the provider monitor the patient’s condition. There are many devices available for remote monitoring, including smartwatches, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, blood glucose monitors, spirometers, or fall detectors. As devices become more sophisticated and more readily available, the adoption of remote monitoring is likely to grow.  

 Even beyond remote monitoring, individuals use digital telehealth tools in their everyday lives for things like logging food and tracking exercise. Many individuals now use patient portals to see test results, access their medical records, view provider notes, schedule appointments, or request prescription refills. 

 Another form of telehealth involves robotics. An example is when a surgeon performs or assists an operation via robotic technology while being physically located elsewhere.  

What are the benefits of telehealth? 

 Telehealth provides many benefits. The most obvious right now is its ability to keep patients and clinicians safe during a pandemic while enabling high-quality care to continue. Beyond the pandemic, benefits include: 

  • Delivering care to a person at home who may not be able to travel to the clinician’s office 
  • Bringing high-quality specialty care to rural areas that may lack access to medical services 
  • Increases access to specialists without long waits to get appointments
  • Allowing for after-hours urgent care 
  • Improving collaboration among clinicians at the patient’s bedside, no matter the clinician’s location 
  • Increases communication between the clinician, the patient, and the patient’s family by enabling more effective interactions 
  • Supports remote patient monitoring for individuals with chronic health conditions 
  • Improves patient satisfaction by making it more convenient to receive care 

 Telehealth can also lower costs. According to Goldman Sacs, the healthcare industry could gain billions in cost savings with the widespread adoption of telehealth. For example, hospitals can use bedside monitors with high-quality video and audio capabilities that enable clinicians to communicate with patients and assess and monitor their conditions from a centralized location. This enables hospitals to reduce costs and mitigate staffing shortages while ensuring high-quality care.   

What type of care can we provide with telehealth? 

Telehealth enables numerous options for providing care. These include: 

  • Emergent/Urgent care. Telehealth can help emergency departments improve throughput, centralize resources, and reduce left-without-being-seen metrics by providing remote patient triage and monitoring. Better triage can help reduce overcrowding in the ED by getting non-acute cases transitioned to a more appropriate care environment.   
  • Acute care. Hospitals can use telehealth to improve outcomes, reduce costs, and increase patient and clinician satisfaction. Telehealth supports virtual rounding, remote ICU monitoring, and more effective multidisciplinary consults. 
  • At-home care. Telehealth enables remote patient monitoring to individuals in their homes whose conditions warrant continual monitoring. It also allows for early intervention and better control of chronic illnesses, reducing readmissions and visits to the ED.  
  • Ambulatory care. With telehealth, providers in ambulatory care can deliver their patients with more options for care, greater convenience, and faster access to specialists. Telehealth can also impact patient loyalty. Even before the pandemic, surveys showed that patients would like the option of virtual visits.
  • Post-acute care. Nearly 20% of patients experience some form of an adverse event in the first three weeks after discharge from a hospital or emergency department. Leveraging telehealth for post-acute care monitoring can ensure patients are compliant with their care plan and follow up with their primary care provider. 
  • Remote monitoring. Telehealth enables clinicians to monitor patients with chronic conditions, allowing them to intervene when an issue is detected. This monitoring helps reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and visits to the ED. More effective chronic care disease management, in turn, can improve outcomes, increase reimbursement, and enhance the patient experience. 

Start providing telehealth with VidyoHealth 

There are plenty of telehealth solutions on the market. Why choose VidyoHealth? Because every organization has different needs, technology, and work environments. Many solutions require providers to change their workflows to accommodate the solution. Not with VidyoHealth. We customize our solutions to your unique needs, workflows, and environments. 

For more than 35 years, healthcare organizations like Kaiser Permanente, Optum, Stanford Healthcare, and the Mayo Clinic have trusted VidyoHealth because of our industry-leading reliability and breadth of options. 

 Why Vidyo is different:

  • All network environments covered, from the most technically challenged to the most robust  
  • A platform built on science 
  • More than 170 patents 
  • Unsurpassed error resiliency, far beyond industry standards 
  • 4K and 5K display with image quality 16X industry averages 
  • 4 deployment options based on your needs: 
  • On-premises for the highest level of control over traffic, CDRs, and network access 
  • Private cloud through Google Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services 
  • Hybrid option for continuous bandwidth optimization 
  • Multi-tenant cloud for easy deployment, vast scalability, silent upgrades, and proactive monitoring 
  • Single-click patient experience (no apps to download or complicated login process) 
  • Connect with patients through any device, network, or browser 

 

Learn why more than 4,000 healthcare providers trust VidyoHealth. Schedule a demo today!

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