Last Updated on October 18, 2022 by Admin
Telehealth technology has extended the arms of traditional health care delivery into homes, clinics, and other environments outside the bricks and mortar of hospitals. Will the increased use of these telehealth technology tools be viewed as “de-humanizing” patient care or will they be viewed as a means to promote more contact with healthcare providers and new ways for people to “stay connected” (as online disease support groups), thereby creating better long term disease management and patient satisfaction?
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Expert Answer and Explanation
Module 5 Discussion Question
Among the biggest developments of healthcare is the introduction of technology elements. Telehealth elements in healthcare have aided in improving communication, coordination of care, and also the transmission of various healthcare plans among patients and healthcare givers. Recently, there is increased evidence showing that telehealth technology has helped in extending the arms of traditional care into clinics, homes, and other environments that are outside the bricks of hospitals (Dorsey & Topol, 2016). Like any other improvement, telehealth has also had negative implications, and sometimes, it is unclear whether the de-humanizing effects it has on care exceeds the provision to keep healthcare professionals more connected with the patients.
The truth is that controlled use of telehealth can only help patients to stay more connected with healthcare providers, provided that there is proper monitoring. One of the major provisions of telehealth is the option for educational charts for patients, where healthcare professionals can interact with patients in monitoring the presence of disease (Tuckson, Edmunds, & Hodgkins, 2017). Also, the ability to hold meetings, interviews, and trainings using telehealth platforms is enough evidence that telehealth increases the connection between different healthcare providers. The only time that telehealth appears to disconnect patients from healthcare givers is when there are no proper communication breakdown between the two parties. These negative elements should be corrected to ensure that doctors can be fully efficient in providing support care services to the patients. This is also possible only if there is maximum communication breakdown between the two parties, where patients also appreciate the value of these telehealth systems and also how to utilize them to benefit fully from them.
Dorsey, E. R., & Topol, E. J. (2016). State of telehealth. New England Journal of Medicine, 375(2), 154-161. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMra1601705
Tuckson, R. V., Edmunds, M., & Hodgkins, M. L. (2017). Telehealth. New England Journal of Medicine, 377(16), 1585-1592. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr1503323
Significance of Telehealth Technology in Care Delivery
In the United States (U.S.), technology is shaping how patients receive medical services, and currently, there are emphasis to shift towards the use of the telehealth technology to remotely help promote care. Although the idea of remotely caring for the patients presents contentious issues such as de-humanizing patient care, the patient can actually benefit from this type of arrangement (Boxer & Ellimoottil, 2019).
The telehealth provides the constant link between the provider and the patient, and this makes it possible for the former to constantly monitor patients. This enables the long-term management of the patient, and makes it possible for the caregiver to provide adequate care to the patient. This also makes it possible to deliver seamless care given that the provider can care for the patient round the clock as long as the telehealth system is working effectively (Boxer & Ellimoottil, 2019).
For some patients, the thought of traveling to the health facility, and cumbersome admission operations can be demotivating. The use of the telehealth eliminates these challenges as well as the bureaucracies linked to the access to care in the hospital facilities. Patients who are unable to get into the hospital because of distance are able to benefit from the clinical care as long as they have access to the telehealth system. Thus, it provides an easy and more efficient approach to managing health cases.
A key feature of the telehealth model of healthcare delivery is that it allows a health practitioner to address the health needs of multiple patients with similar health problems. This saves them time, and eliminates the need for the patient to be physically present at the point of care to receive treatment (Boxer & Ellimoottil, 2019). Thus, the notion that telehealth is de-humanizing is not true.
However, the telehealth may not entirely be effective when it comes to managing medical care situations. Other than clinical care, patients require emotional, and spiritual support, and they need to feel the presence of the provider. The telehealth technology cannot help meet these expectations, and any support that a provider provides virtually, may not fully address the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient.
Boxer, R. J., & Ellimoottil, C. (2019). Advantages and utilization of telemedicine. mHealth, 5, 12. Doi: https://doi.org/10.21037/mhealth.2019.04.02.
Kruse, C. S., Krowski, N., Rodriguez, B., Tran, L., Vela, J., & Brooks, M. (2017). Telehealth and patient satisfaction: a systematic review and narrative analysis. BMJ open, 7(8), e016242. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016242.