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Telehealth is the use of digital information and communication technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely and manage your health care. These may be technologies you use from home or that your doctor uses to improve or support health care services.
The goals of telehealth include the following:
- Make health care accessible to people who live in rural or isolated communities.
- Make services more readily available or convenient for people with limited mobility, time or transportation options.
- Provide access to medical specialists.
- Improve communication and coordination of care among members of a health care team and a patient.
- Provide support for self-management of health care.
In fact, some clinics may provide virtual appointments enabling you to see your doctor or a nurse via online videoconferencing. These appointments enable you to receive ongoing care from your regular doctor when an in-person visit is not required or possible.
Other virtual appointments include web-based visits with a doctor or nurse practitioner. These services are generally for minor illnesses, like the services available at a drop-in clinic. Some large companies provide access to virtual doctors’ offices as a part of their health care offerings.
One major advantage by using telehealth is that doctors can also take advantage of technology to provide better care for their patients. One example is a virtual consultation that allows primary care doctors to get input from specialists when they have questions about your diagnosis or treatment.
The primary care doctor sends exam notes, history, test results, X-rays or other images to the specialist to review. The specialist may respond electronically, conduct a virtual appointment with you at your doctor’s office, or request a face-to-face meeting.
These virtual consultations may prevent unnecessary in-person referrals to a specialist, reduce wait times for specialist input and eliminate unnecessary travel.
While technology has the potential to improve the quality of health care and to make it accessible to more people, telehealth may just provide opportunities to make health care more efficient, better coordinated, and closer to home.
This month we have a free webinar with speaker Katherine Porter APRN, ACNP-BC of Ascension Sacred Heart Cardiology. She will be discussing telehealth and heart care. Ms. Porter graduated from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science in nursing, later attending the University of Alabama in Birmingham where she received her Master of Science in Nursing as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner.
Please go to our sister website, SeniorWebinars.com, to RSVP for this free seminar.
If you or your loved one is looking for a senior living community, call us at (866) 800-9110 to help explore communities near you.