As we get older, we strive to live as independently as we can for as long as we can, and limit the stress on our family and caregivers. Telehealth and Telemedicine offer the potential to improve access to care and the quality of care, while reducing pressure on family members. It is increasingly being used for mental health, chronic conditions, remote monitoring and follow-up visits.
While not limited to seniors, here are some telehealth tips on using telemedicine most effectively:
- Mental Health
- Already widely used for mental health and behavioral health; remote visits by providers improves access, convenience and outcomes. Patients with mobility issues benefit the most by being able to hold sessions remotely from the comfort of their home, reducing cancellations and no-shows.
- Chronic Conditions
- Telehealth is deployed widely to manage common chronic conditions such as diabetes. Daily sessions can be implemented to host telehealth meetings that address symptoms as well as emotional health, and daily gathering of health information helps providers be proactive in treatment.
- Remote Monitoring
- Remote monitoring can be categorized into passive and active systems. Passive systems are those that can monitor activities in the home using sensors, for example: cameras, and motion detectors. Active systems are wearables that can detect a fall, pulse or walking activity and communicate it to providers in real time.
- Palliative Care
- Using telehealth and telemedicine for palliative care at home is growing in popularity. Video conferencing between several parties is common and improves efficiency among busy providers, caregivers and patients.
- Primary Care
- There is a correlation between telehealth usage, primary care and healthcare laws in the United States. As healthcare laws change and more coverage is provided by Medicare and Commercial insurance companies, there is an uptick in promotion and usage of Telemedicine, leading to improved patient satisfaction and outcomes.
- Family and Caregiver support
- Support from family members and caregivers plays a vital role in the physical and mental health of patients. Convenience of communication offered through telehealth helps bridge the gap in care, education and skills for caregivers, helping prevent unnecessary visits to the doctor or emergency room.
- Reducing stress for caregivers
- A common complaint of caregivers is the physical and emotional stress it places on them. With the efficiency of telehealth and telemedicine, caregivers are able to maintain that personal connection remotely and can manage their time more efficiently without the added stress of driving in traffic or rushing between appointments.
As telehealth matures and becomes more widely accepted, feedback and data on patient impact will be needed to pinpoint which ones are most effective in various scenarios. Initial research suggests positive results for patients and seniors, allowing for increased attention from lawmakers and insurers.