Telehealth: Making healthcare more accessible using technology

Richard A. Kimball, Jr.
19 Feb, 2015 Richard A. Kimball, Jr.

In the 21st century, humanity witnessed the rapid advancements in the field of communication technology, such that communicating with someone halfway across the globe had become much easier, faster and cheaper today. Healthcare is among the sectors benefited by this trend, and the rise of telehealth is one proof.

Telehealth refers to the delivery of healthcare services using telecommunications technology, whether for diagnosis, treatment, or patient monitoring. The market for telehealth is particularly ripe in the United States, where 91% believed that health outcomes were as good or better via telehealth, according to the American Well Telehealth Consumer Survey 2015. The same index reveals that seven out of 10 prefer to obtain common prescriptions remotely, and six out of 10 think telehealth costs less than in-person care.

While it cannot replace direct, face-to-face interaction between the physician and the patient, telehealth allows for convenient, efficient, and less costly healthcare. For example, doctors can engage in remote consultation: Patients can send photos of what they are complaining of, such as skin allergies. General practitioners based in community health centers can confer with specialists regarding the case using the telephone or video calling.

Doctors can also offer further medical advice electronically via telehealth–– the prescribed diet, medication, and daily exercise regimen for a diabetic, for instance, can be delivered via email, thus providing the physicians  with more time to attend to other patients in person. Finally, those patients in far-flung areas need not come all the way from their community for follow-up checkups if they are not experiencing more alarming symptoms.

Obviously, the emergence of telehealth should spell more available healthcare services to everyone, regardless of their socioeconomic status, educational attainment, or location. Our less fortunate brothers and sisters, in particular, are more likely too intimidated to come to the healthcare facilities. They cannot be blamed – too often a visit to the doctors means expenses, and most of them do not even have the luxury to forego work and be at the hospital for a whole day. In addition, they are the ones who are keen on self-management of their disease, for it means spending less on medicines as well as visits to the doctor.

The key lies in promoting spending on information technology infrastructure among healthcare institutions, especially with support from the government and the private sector. This focus includes the setup of a dedicated high-speed network, as well as the procurement of a remote diagnostic testing facility, wireless applications, and the corresponding gadgets.

The possibilities for a more effective healthcare system are truly endless. And through telehealth, we see how technology accomplishes what it should first and foremost: help improve the quality of life.

5 Responses

  • Zach

    For me, this new trend in promoting healthcare is very beneficial. People can save time and money while having their health properly monitored.

  • Dallas

    Home healthcare will motivate a number of patients to seek medical health and attention. I know of a number of people who always postpone their visit to the hospital because of their fear regarding hospital environments and medical professionals.

  • Jessica

    I have to agree with the main points of this post- it’s high time that our private hospitals should start providing a more humane way to healthcare. The provision of after-care and education to patients and individuals can be effective in limiting the incidence of leading diseases including diabetes and obesity.

  • Kerino

    Jessica mentioned below that hospitals need to provide more humane healthcare towards patients. I don’t necessarily think they’re being inhumane, but I do think this is going to help our country, and perhaps the world later. The video here; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=67RMt4jYOAY actually puts all of this into perspective.

  • Assunta

    It’s time for an entirely new approach to our healthcare system. Telehealth is going to make things more easy, more productive, and all while saving us so much money over time. Richard Kimball has designed this program to be nearly fool-proof. You can find more about it here: http://www.mdtmag.com/blog/2015/03/rebooting-healthcare-system

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