The digital world continues to evolve, enhancing our lives and impacting how we do things, from ordering take-out food to even buying automobiles. The ability to leverage technology was particularly important during the COVID-19 pandemic and enabled people to manage everyday aspects of their lives while isolating from the outside world. One of the more notable benefits, and something that will continue far beyond the pandemic, is the availability and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth involves primarily non-clinical remote healthcare services. Telehealth can include virtual visits with a healthcare provider, and is typically done via online connectivity using a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Telehealth also includes non-medical services such as health education and mobile wellness apps that encourage healthy lifestyle behaviors. Telehealth enables patients to:
- Communicate directly with a health care provider on the phone or through video
- Send messages or receive messages using secure systems
- Utilize remote monitoring, which enables your health care provider access to vital sign information
Telehealth visits can be used to address a wide variety of non-acute health issues, such as skin conditions, colds, coughs, headaches, depression, diabetes, lab or x-ray results, prescription management, post-surgical follow-up, physical therapy, and remote monitoring services to track health trends.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine supports more acute, chronic health conditions and involves medical diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from severe illness like long-COVID, cardiovascular disease, congestive heart failure, COPD, high blood pressure and other conditions using advanced information and communication technologies to:
- Reduce unnecessary hospital admissions or emergency room visits
- Monitor changes in your vital signs and health conditions
- Manage and increase prevention of chronic conditions
- Save time and money scheduling and traveling to healthcare appointments
Telemedicine also provides continuity and coordination of care across health care practices and providers through centralization of precise data for clinicians as well as medication oversight and compliance.
In 2021, nearly 40% of adults in the United States used telemedicine and almost 80% of U.S. hospitals connect with patients, health care providers, and others in the system via video or some other type of technology. In short, telemedicine is here to stay as it provides more convenience, greater immediacy, enhanced security, and access to a wider scope of services.
Telemedicine provides examples of how technology can improve the quality of health care, as well as the safety and quality of life for patients. There is nothing more important than your health, and telehealth and telemedicine are tools that can be beneficial if utilized properly. As with any health-related issue, you should always consult with your doctor to determine how to best utilize telehealth or telemedicine as part of your healthcare plan. You may also research other available telemedicine organizations to gain more information, such as the American Telemedicine Association (americantelemed.org) or contact a local organization such as Waveny Telemedicine Services ([email protected] or 203-594-5360).
At Home In Darien continues to focus on its mission to help Darien seniors live independently, comfortably and with dignity in their own homes and the community as long as possible. Please call us with any questions at (203) 655-2227, or visit us at https://www.athomeindarien.org if you need any additional information regarding the services and support we provide on behalf of Darien seniors.