What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers to the use of electronic devices to deliver healthcare remotely. Advances in technology have increased the use of telehealth and fine-tuned its application to allow all to access qualified healthcare, despite location or ability to attend clinics in person.
Telehealth uses digital means to assess, diagnose, prevent, monitor and treat conditions or diseases. This might include video or telephone consultations.
Other words for ‘Telehealth’
- Remote consultations
- Mobile health
Aims of Telehealth
Overcome geographical restrictions
– Connecting healthcare workers with those in different locations. This reduces travel time and cost, especially notable when coming for repeat appointments
Improve overall health outcomes
– Allowing for early identification and intervention, or onward referral if needed before further deterioration. Consistent monitoring to assess if any management needs to be altered to improve function
– Advice and education between Consultant appointments, or face to face therapy appointments, to enable informed decision making and identify any patterns or themes in the condition. This will then assist to guide further intervention.
What are the benefits?
In this current global environment, remote working is becoming increasingly prevalent and healthcare is no exception to this. Telehealth allows all of the community to access qualified opinion and treatment in scenarios where taking the risk of cross infection is not necessary. Telehealth consultations also reduce the cost of travel and time and are accessible from anywhere.
The power of words
Ultimately your pain is always yours. Health professionals aim to educate and better help you understand why parts of you feel sore, stiff, weak etc but we only gain an insight, we don’t live with it like you do. Telehealth adds an element of empowerment to your therapy and gives you greater control over your condition. This is achieved by an increase in self-management and by allowing more regular follow-ups so that each query can be timely explained, to give you an enhanced understanding into why you feel the way that you do.
Shared decision making
Regular contact means that you are always informed of any options that are available to you. Being able to discuss these options with your therapist helps you to make an informed decision about your healthcare.
What do I need for a telehealth appointment?
An electronic device with the ability to access a camera and microphone is ideal. This will allow a therapist to discuss your problem with you, and also assess your movement and function just like they would with a face to face appointment.
If you don’t have access to the above, a telephone can be used to discuss, assess and treat your problem verbally.