Technology is completely transforming our society. In just the past 10 years, we have advanced from flip phones to smart homes. You can now use an app to remotely monitor your thermostat or watch someone as they ring your doorbell.
Technology is not only being used to make life easier, it's also saving countless lives.
The concept behind telehealth has been around for decades, but the technology that makes it possible is advancing rapidly. The opportunities to provide greater access and quality care to people in the setting that they choose are growing constantly. Assessment, consultation, treatment management and education between provider and patients are all now possible without the two being in the same room or even the same state.
Hospitals in both rural and urban settings are investing in telehealth technologies because they appreciate the benefit to patients, ultimately helping to address inequities in access to care, containment of healthcare cost growth and enhancement of quality.
Real-world examples are growing every day.
When appropriate, a provider visit via live video is just as effective as an in-person visit. This is especially helpful in rural areas where patients may live several hours away from practices or in portions of the country where there are shortages of specialty physicians, for example in the behavioral health field.
Remote patient monitoring allows physicians to check in with someone once they are released from the hospital, potentially avoiding preventable readmissions and secondary conditions. And new and inventive ways of using our ubiquitous mobile devices are harnessing the power of apps or even text messages to promote healthy behaviors.
Telehealth is clinically proven, creates convenience and access for patients and is vital to the clinical care integration that will improve quality and help curb cost growth.