Telehealth care: The Ultimate Guide
People with ongoing diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure have had to rely on visiting a GP or hospital to be tested on a regular basis. With the advancement of technology and telehealth, it's possible to avoid lengthy commutes and monitor health. It has also meant that Suresafe alarms can develop devices such as alarms for the elderly and disabled, in fact, people of all ages. But how else can telehealth care help and would you or a loved one benefit from a personal alarm?
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is digital communication and devices that allows healthcare professionals to access health care services remotely to better manage one’s overall health care. Telehealth offers convenient health care access to people, as well as providing better access to health specialists, no matter where a patient is located.
It also offers support that allows a patient to monitor his or her care, whilst under the supervision of a doctor. From videoconferencing to providing biodata information, telehealth offers a wide range of services to better treat individuals.
Telehealth equipment allows patients to better care for themselves, whilst under the overall care of doctors. Equipment that automatically sends information to doctors can benefit patients who suffer from asthma, diabetes, or those with high blood pressure.
Each of those diseases requires equipment to test and monitor these conditions, for instance, those with high blood pressure can use a telehealth monitor to take their blood pressure and have the results sent to their GP. Of course, not every individual is able to benefit from telehealth, but you can get information about suitability from your GP.
Similarly, our range of personal alarm systems let you monitor a loved one. They can be used as an elderly personal alarm, an epilepsy alarm or make helpful seizure alarms. Whatever your health concern, you can be sure to connect to someone at just the touch of a button.
Differences between Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Telecare
Telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare are all under the umbrella of e-medicine, which serves to better care and educate individuals through the internet and telecommunications. There are many other specific telehealth categories, such as telenutrition, telenursing, teleaudiology, and more, but those are generally specific to a certain branch of medicine.
Telehealth is far broader than telemedicine, as it refers not just to medical visits, but also education and administrative meetings. Most telehealth equipment allows people to better monitor ongoing chronic conditions via equipment that automatically sends readings to doctors.
Telemedicine is a subset of telehealth that specifically covers education and health care services from a distance. Most often used for follow-up visits or management of chronic conditions, telemedicine generally uses secure video calls and audio calls to better care for patients.
Telecare refers specifically to equipment that is used for telehealth that determines if there is an issue and sends an alert to a call centre or a family member. Sure Safe alarms fall under this umbrella of telehealth. Once unfairly branded as an old people alarm, they are actually used by people of all ages. They provide help for anyone who is at risk of falling or needs an SOS pendant for a health condition. More and more, older people are using them to help them keep an active lifestyle. This is especially true of the smartwatch style and GPS personal alarm.
Telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare are all under the umbrella of e-health. All telemedicine and telecare are telehealth, but not all telehealth is telemedicine or telecare.
What are the benefits of Telehealth?
As we've seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth has become even more important. The House of Commons noted on 11 March, 2020 that, “We have moved to a principle of “digital-first” in primary care and with out-patients: unless there are clinical or practical reasons, all consultations should be done by telemedicine.”
Wider Patient Reach
One of the biggest benefits of telehealth is that it expands care to better reach all individuals in need of care. Even with doctors being busier than ever due to a pandemic, telehealth allows for patients to be cared for in rural areas, as well as patients with chronic issues to be seen and cared for with the very best of care in a non-traditional way.
For us, a medical alarm, or lifeline alarms as they're sometimes known, can help to reduce stress and put minds at ease. Even something as simple as a personal alarm pendant or a wrist worn fall detector can alert family members or trained response staff when needed.
Telehealth Improves Patients Experience
The Nursing Times noted in a recent article on reconciling telehealth alongside nursing concerns, that patients have seen an improvement in their overall care and comfort. One patient from Yorkshire noted, “I was struggling to cope with my health before telehealth was fitted, either waking up or going to sleep feeling uneasy or ill.
Telehealth gives me a sense of reassurance to know somebody is keeping a check on me every day. It feels like a godsend. I feel much more at ease with the different aspects of coping with my illness. If I don’t feel quite right, I can take measurements at any time in the day and the majority of the time everything is OK.”
Similarly at Suresafe we have found that alarms for the elderly and disabled can give people the same reassurance. If the wearer is feeling unwell or if they have any concerns for their safety, they can simply press their SOS pendant.
Telehealth Benefits Rural Communities
In rural areas, telehealth increases healthcare quality, especially because it allows the patient to be seen by a GP without driving long distances. It also better allows a patient to have more specialised care that before now, would not be possible unless the patient lived closer to a larger city or the required specialists.
Can Telehealth Benefit Patients with Limited Mobility?
For patients with limited mobility, especially the elderly or those without reliable means of transportation, telehealth can make a big difference in their overall care. Telehealth allows patients, especially older ones who may need more appointments to be seen promptly and as frequently as they need, without having to even leave the house.
Telecare equipment also benefits those with limited mobility as many of them automatically send the necessary information about the patient to the clinic for review by a GP.
Personal alarm fall detection is another way that telehealth technology is helping people. For those who are at risk of falling, suffer from seizures or have limited mobility, fall alarms like our FallAlert can sense a fall and trigger the alarm immediately.
Telehealth Improves Patients Promptness
A persistent problem for the NHS has always been missed GP appointments, which accumulate and cost the NHS millions over the years. With telehealth, there is no longer a concern about traffic or confusing times at the surgery. Patients are more likely to show up.
In fact, a US study that looked at no-show rates at the Omaha Children’s Hospital noted that once they switched to telehealth for many appointments, they had a 50% drop in no-shows overall.
How Can Telehealth Support Independence?
For elderly patients who may struggle with getting a ride to doctor’s visits, telehealth offers them more independence from families and institutions. MHealth intelligence notes, “From innovative connected care platforms to the Internet of Things, telehealth is showing today’s seniors (and tomorrow’s soon-to-be seniors) how they can live out their golden years in their own homes.”
The report quoted, references AARP statistics, and states that “… 87% of seniors age 65 and older, and 71% of those between 50 and 64 want to age in place, and will require home-based technology to make that a reality.”
Likewise, our personal alarm and GPS tracker devices are supporting people in their own homes and helping them to stay safe when out and about. A big part of what we do is using the latest technology to design alarms that help people to stay independent no matter what their age or the condition of their health
Offers Extensive Technology Options
From apps to patient portals, testing supplies to reminders, telehealth relies on technology to remind patients of medications and procedures, whilst still offering the kind of care previously only seen in hospitals or GP clinics. This extensive technology allows for more independence and freedom for patients, especially elderly patients, and can relieve the minds of caregivers and family members.
Telehealth does not replace a GP
While telehealth offers the ability to video call and contact patients with doctors, the technology just isn’t there for a physical examination. In some cases, physical examinations aren’t necessary, but in other cases, a patient needs to be examined by a doctor to be best treated. Another limitation of telehealth is that in some cases, a doctor could prescribe a necessary treatment right away and have it issued to the patient.
Having said this, using something like a personal alarm means that you or somebody else will be alerted right away and get the medical care that they need. Yes, there may be some disadvantages to telehealthcare but there's no argument that they are able to help you or a loved one remain in their home, independently for longer.