After a year of too many changes in everything we knew as normal, it seems that technology has become the best partner for anything you want to do. It may seem crazy to talk about telehealth but it is not as recent as you should think. By the end of the 1800s, an article in The Lancet mentioned the use of telephone to avoid unnecessary visits. Since the 1920s, radio has been a very useful tool to give medical assistance to clinics of ships and recently, telephone has been used to perform audiometry and otoscopes in remote villages, and depending on each case, the patient can be transferred to the required specialist.
Nowadays with all the pandemic situations, even the health sector has needed to migrate to remote services even for people in big cities where there is access to everything around the corner, to avoid unnecessary visits. Telehealth is the use of technology to give medical attention in the distance. These technologies can include computers, cameras, satellite communications and video conferences. Telehealth includes Telemedicine, but it’s meaning collects more services such as remote professional training and services for pharmaceutical and social workers.
Here are some examples of telehealth:
– A virtual visit by phone or video call with a health professional
– Remote patient monitoring, as heart rate information, sugar and fat levels, etc.
– Robotic technology to make a surgery remotely
– Sensors to know if a person with mental issues leaves its home
– Online tutorials to teach how to use medical equipment
– Reminders for regular tests
The benefits that Telehealth is giving are as for patients as for Health providers. To begin, patients are saving time and money avoiding to attend personal visits, so they don’t need to spend money on public transportation, gas and parking if they drive, and the time they spend to go, waiting to be attended and the way back home and in come cases, people has to find someone to take care of children. Secondly, it is easier to get a specialist point of view, as you can attend a specialist appointment with no remittance from the general doctor. Next, you can have an appointment with the doctor you consider the best, so the quality of the service you expect is fully covered.
There are disadvantages too and problems by using Telehealth. The first one and most obvious is that you can not get the best of the diagnosis by not taking an in person visit, as some symptoms can only be measured by direct visual view, by touch or by direct hearing. Also, there can be problems with the connexion, for example the signal can get lost or software failures. Finally, not all doctors can get access to all your information and clinic history, and these details can give much better data about the patient.
As time keeps going, more and more ways to use technology in the Health related area are being implemented and this field promises to improve in great proportions, as there are millions of dollars and people investigating and researching new ways to improve the health of everyone around the world.