Indeed, everything has changed over the decades. From how we stay in touch with family and friends, purchasing patterns of goods and services, to information search on health problems. As the world moves ahead with advanced technology, we are experiencing various challenges health-wise.
One must be glad to know that modern life challenges are compromised with innovative solutions that are available in every possible way. When the outbreak of the SARS-Cov-2 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) struck, public health became a high level international concern.
In the midst of a global pandemic, technological advances provided new options such as telehealth.
There are a variety of telehealth tools available to help us manage our health and receive the services we need.
The question here is, do we know enough about telehealth and are we making full use of them?
Today, telehealth is widely used by healthcare providers and professionals. It is a tool for the delivery of health care services, using information and communication technologies (ICT) with the exchange of valid and correct information.
With the rapid evolution of portable electronics, each family or home has at least one digital device, such as smartphones and webcams that enable them to access health care services remotely. It provides easy communication between patients and healthcare providers at the same time, with minimal cost.
Now that we know about telehealth briefly, let’s get to know the goals of enabling telehealth services for the benefit of the community.
Telehealth makes healthcare accessible for people who live in rural communities.
Telehealth makes life easier for those who live in isolated areas. One tap access is much better than hassling for long hours travelling to the nearby health care center. Telehealth ensures that services are more convenient for people with limited mobility, time, or transportation options.
Telehealth improves communication and coordination among members of a healthcare team and a patient.
Telehealth helps to reduce the use of resources in health centers and improves access to services while minimising the risk of direct transmission of the infectious agent from person to person. It also enables patients in real-time to contact a health care provider for advice on their health problems.
Telehealth provides support for the self-management of health care.
With telehealth, we can access reports and book an appointment with healthcare providers easily. It’s convenient to always keep track of our health status.
There are several services introduced into telehealth. The following examples of telehealth services may be beneficial for your health care.
Some healthcare centers may provide virtual appointments that enable you to see your health care professional online, for example, through video conferencing. These appointments enable you to receive ongoing care from your regular advisors or professionals when an in-person visit isn’t required or possible. Virtual appointments include web-based visits with a medical practitioner.
These services are generally for minor illnesses. Some companies provide access to virtual professionals’ offices as a part of their health care offerings.
A variety of technologies enable your healthcare team to monitor your health remotely. These technologies include:
» Web-based or mobile apps that are widely used for uploading information such as blood glucose readings. This is then made visible to your healthcare team.
» Electronic devices that measure and wirelessly transmit information. It can read information such as blood pressure, blood glucose, or lung function.
» Wearable devices that are available everywhere that record and transmit information automatically.
Personal health apps
Various apps have been created to help consumers organise their health information in one secure place and with only one tap. These digital tools may help you:
» Keep personal health information.
» Record vital signs.
» Calculate and track caloric intake.
» Schedule automatic reminders for taking medicine or supplements.
» Record physical activity, such as your daily step count.
As of now, we already know what telehealth could do to improve the quality of healthcare and make it possible for people. Telehealth provides great opportunities to make healthcare efficient, organized, and accessible anywhere.
Similar to telehealth, White Coat 360 is a digital health-tech platform in Malaysia, which is actively connecting healthcare providers with the community to ensure the people are served with unbiased health advice. ■