This year has shown the importance of access to telehealth services in every country around the world, with the pandemic limiting our movements we’ve had to adapt to using these services for all manner of ailments. While such a service has been available for some time now, under the pressure of the pandemic we’ve seen how applicable it can be, and how it can potentially replace expensive visits to doctors offices in the future. Especially relevant in this time in America where the cost of access to healthcare technology
is so high, it’s important to be able to diagnose more efficiently.
How It’s Used
As the name would suggest, telehealth services are primarily accessed through our smartphones, although computers are just as able to allow us access to these services.
Through the regular use of tracking apps we can compile our health information, such as heart rate readings or dietary intake, and share this information with the relevant medical professionals. This can save time on people attempting to remember or explain information, or relay their notes to their doctor, and can also give more accurate readings. These apps can also give us reminders on such things as when to use asthma inhalers, when to top up on insulin, or when to go into the clinic for a flu shot. People can also use the relevant telehealth apps to order a top up of their prescriptions when necessary, saving some rurally-based folk the time and money of travelling into town.
Other apps can give us advice on exercise routines or dietary recommendations, including how-to videos. This advice can be tailored by our medical professionals or simply found by the patients in reference to their own concerns.
One of the most important applications of telehealth services is of course having a virtual appointment with a doctor, while there are some restrictions to how much a doctor can diagnose over video conference, there are definitely times when a visit to the doctors office isn’t completely necessary.
Simple over-the-phone appointments are another excellent way to receive professional medical advice when it comes to less severe ailments or illnesses, and can be useful for parents of babies or young children who may need some advice or reassurance.
The Limitations of Telehealth
As previously mentioned there are of course some limitations to telehealth services, and many in the healthcare technology review
industry are watching the development of telehealth services closely. It’s important to remember that these services are only suitable for less severe problems, and while they can encourage good self-management and at-home healthcare, in certain cases the doctor or hospital is necessary.
Also there is still a gray area around the relationship between insurance providers and telehealth services, with many states still struggling with who should foot the bill. Contacting your doctor and asking for local advice is a great first step to finding out whether telehealth services are available and worthwhile for you, although the accessibility is a huge positive, and in the not-too-distant future telehealth services may become an industry standard.