What is Telehealth? Remote medical consultation, diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology. Telehealth allows audio visual interaction with a doctor or nurse and gives the users a sense of direct contact with the health care professional despite physical remoteness.
Using Telehealth as an alternative to in-person visits has a host of benefits for patients and providers alike.
Telehealth is an important and quickly growing component of healthcare delievery in the United States. There are currently about 200 Telehealth networks, with 3,500 service sites in the US. In 2011 alone the Veterans Health Administration delivered over 300,000 remote consultations using Telehealth. More than half of all U.S. hospitals now use some form of Telehealth.
Yes. When used under the right conditions and for appropriate cases, Telehealth has been shown to be as safe and effective as in-person care. Of course, not every condition is conducive to treatment via video visits, so providers must use good judgement when leveraging this channel for healthcare delivery.
In order to be effective, Telehealth technologies must be easy to use for both patients and providers. The best solutions are easy for medical offices to set up and deploy and as easy for patients as the mobile device applications they use every day.