Telehealth Communications

Telehealth Communications 

UnknownIn today’s information society, anyone can track their personal health information through technology devices. The trend is catching on in health care with the rise of telemedicine. Many health care practitioners have the ability to conduct consultations with their patients in the virtual world through video, text or e-mail.

“Telehealth is catching on quickly and it is expected to grow 18.4% by 2020, according to a recent report by health care consultancy RONCOS (Louis, 2015, para 2). Venture funding in the U.S. for telehealth grew 315% just last year, making it the fastest-growing sector in digital health, according to the report” (Luis, July, 2015, para 2). Several trends and cultural changes have contributed to this widespread growth:

Lifestyle change: Today, patients have adapted to using smartphones and tablets to access their information and they are familiar seeking out communication via a smart phone.

Affordable Care Act: Because there is more people who have insurance than in the past, it is important patients are pro-active and have fast, easy access to address their health issues and concerns.

Growth of the senior demographic: As the baby boomer generation ages, there is a need to address health issues early on to prevent health problems from progressing. By treating health issues in the initial stages, cost are lowered and alleviates an overload on physician’s offices and hospitals by excluding the demand for in-patient office visits.

 In store-and-forward telehealth services use digital images, video, audio, observation of daily living (ODLs), and clinical data that are captured and stored on the client computer or mobile device; then at a convenient time they are transmitted securely to a clinic at another location where they are studied by the physicians (Louis, 2015).   The physician’s diagnosis is then transmitted back and based on the requirements of the healthcare entities involved, and turnaround time takes between 1 minute to 48 hours. In the simplest form of telehealth service, basic vital signs like blood pressure, weight, pulse, and blood sugar values are monitored and watched for long term chronic care (Louis, 2015).   Videoconferencing is one of the most common forms of real-time telemedicine. Peripheral devices can also be attached to computers or the video-conferencing equipment, which can aid in an interactive examination Louis, 2015). With the availability of better and cheaper communication channels, direct two-way audio and video streaming between centers through computers is leading to lower costs.

Telehealth services offers extraordinary benefits to consumers, doctors, hospitals and insurance companies, but strategic communication is essential for encouraging the use of this time-saving and cost-saving technology.

Reference

Louis, K. (2015, July) Tackling Telehealth Communication Challenges. Marketing Health Services e-newsletter. Retrieved from http://www.ama.org/publications/enewsletter/mhsnewsletter/pages/default.aspx.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Telehealth Communications

  1. Alicia says:

    Hi Kim;
    Your post was very interesting to me. I have been in the health insurance industry, for what now seems like an eternity. I agree that telehealth requires a specific and targeted marketing campaign to appreciate the benefits. I recall the first time I encountered this type of service. I represented a client who was in the state of Virginia. A prominent physician group communicated that they would “triage” care through a telephone consultation before physically seeing a patient. At first the client and employees were skeptical of this suggestion. However, as time progressed they came to see the efficiencies they gained from the time saved and the lower cost offered by telehealth services In the end, they came to appreciate and embrace this service.

    -Alicia