As the number of people who require medical attention continues to increase steadily and out paces the number of physicians, the need for alternative solutions is quickly becoming a priority around the world. In the developed countries around the world telehealth offers a level of convenience but for those in the less developed parts of the world who don’t have the access to modern healthcare, advances in technology are helping them gain access to medical experts that were once unreachable. To learn more, checkout the following infographic created by the Adventist University of Health Sciences’ Online RN BSN program.
The Telehealth Time and Resource Advantage
One of the most important advantages that telehealth brings to the medical community, and to patients as well, is that it uses the time of the medical professionals in an effective manner. As telehealth can help diagnose an ailment without the patient going into a clinic or hospital, it reduces the strain on the same. At the same time, the cases that do not require people to go into a clinic also reduces the time doctors and nurses would have spent on them.
A lot of the patients who frequent clinics are those who are coming back for follow up visits. These numbers have also been brought down tremendously. Some of the reports that telehealth companies present offer a promising view. 5 million patients have referred to off-site specialists to read their radiology reports. A million patients with implanted pacemakers have been monitored off site. These are just a few examples of the millions of clinic and hospital visits that have been avoided.
The Financial Implications of Telehealth
It is estimated that employers can save as much as $6 billion by opting for telehealth. This amount takes into account the cost of medical care as well as loss of productivity. Teladoc reports that every user saves $750 on every use of its service. Rent-A-Center saved $718,654 in health care expenditure as well as loss of productivity by using Teladoc.
On an average, a visit to the ER costs $800. In contrast, a TeleHealth consultation service charges about $40 for a month. It is believed that 15% of ER visits could have been avoided with telehealth intervention. Furthermore, Teladoc states that 25% of its users did not require going to the ER in the first place.
When one looks at the expenditures related to sickness and a visit to the hospital it is found that many factors need consideration. $4.2 million is saved when patients chose to stay at home and use telehealth to diagnose their ailment. $570,000 was saved as this amount would have been used for the transportation and other expenditure made by the family of the patient.
Timely and Accessible Medical Care and Consultation
The Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) Telemedicine Network provides specialist consultation throughout the state of Oregon. This service has saved lives because doctors and nurses have been able to diagnose and treat conditions effectively and without any delays. The OHSU team diagnosed an infant with a fatal bacterial infection, which was treated quickly and a life saved.
Between 2010 and 2012, OHSU has helped hospitals in the state identify stroke patients and treat them in a timely manner. The fact is that a specialist cannot be present in every clinic and hospital in the country and the world. However, with telehealth and telemedicine it is possible to diagnose and treat a condition properly.
In rural USA, telehealth is able to provide the specialist consultation that local clinics and hospitals may not be able to. The Center for Telehealth and Cybermedicine Research at the University of New Mexico uses telehealth tools to improve the health care available to the residents. Likewise, The Alaska Federal Health Care Access Network (AFHCAN) uses telehealth to address the health issues of the natives in a timely fashion.
In developing countries, such as India, telehealth is also making a deep impact. The Narayan Hrudayalaya Telemedicine Services (NHTS) are extended not only in India but also in countries such as Malaysia, Tanzania, Burundi, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Zambia.
Training and Opportunities in Telehealth
There are no specific keywords needed to explain the crucial role that nurses play in the medical care sector. They take on a wide and diverse range of responsibilities. When it comes to the nursing staff, the demand and supply ratio is quite skewed. In fact, by the year 2025 it is estimated that the supply of nurses will fall short of the national demand. This makes the role of telehealth even more critical. Nursing personnel can also increase their employment opportunities by adding relevant skills to their repertoire.
Telehealth offers a viable solution to the constantly increasing need for medical care and consultation. Not only does it allow for efficient and effective diagnosis but also keeps the financial cost down. In other words, it offers quick and good medical care consultation service, and makes it accessible to people around the globe. Telehealth is undoubtedly the future of medical care.
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