Introduction

When mentioning the word ‘telehealth’, many people think of using highly technical and sophisticated technology to deliver healthcare services. Whilst at times this is true, any sort of healthcare delivered over telecommunications is telehealth. Therefore talking to your doctor over the phone is a form of telehealth.stethoscope-147700_640

Telehealth on the rise

The primary reason why telehealth is on the rise is to reduce the strain on the NHS. The waiting time to get an appointment with a GP is increasing and due to this many individuals are heading to accident and emergency departments, which are now stretching the resources on those centres. Arguably a lack of funds are one of the main reasons behind current events, however, one can also a point to a lack of management of money, specifically the case of Reading NHS who overspent by £18m on a system to find difficulties in the simplest tasks of retrieving a patient record. The NHS is not free; this money comes from the taxes of millions of hardworking individuals. Regardless of these issues, with the rise of technology, in hindsight telehealth was always going to gain prominence.

How can telehealth help?

At face value it can be stated that telehealth will save time, money and resources, however it is important to establish how it will reap these rewards.

In the realms of primary care GP’s can speak to, assess and diagnose their patients via video call, using something as simple as Skype. This allows GP’s to see more patients in a given period of time and better manage their days and appointments and make better decisions i.e. filtering out who needs to be seen in person after a call. This can be extended to communication between a patient and a specialist health professional. Telehealth is perfect, for example, in mental health where occasionally patients can feel too much of a low mood, anxiety and lethargy to attend an appointment and it is exactly at these times when they need to see a specialist the most.

Moreover, telehealth can contribute in managing a patient’s care pathway. Often doctors and clinicians from many different locations are involved in a single patients care. Physically getting all parties together to discuss care plan can be difficult due to distance and time limitations, therefore communications and actions are delayed via emails and so forth. Video calling permits the flexibility to demonstrate ideas visually as well as hold meetings regularly.

Limitations?

All technology has their limitations, however, these are non-existent or minimal if the technology is used for the right job. It is vitally important that you use the right technology in its correct context.

DCC possess over a decade worth of experience in understanding how technology works best in a healthcare environment. Book you free knowledge share workshop and onsite assessment if you’d like a practical demonstration on how these technologies work, alternatively, contact us to learn more.