The purpose of this work is to examine telehealth in order to:
- Understand its role in modern health care system, its necessity, and the scope of use;
- Understand the difference between its modalities, including synchronous and asynchronous telehealth;
- Examine the available research dedicated to telehealth to ensure an in-depth insight into it;
- Perceive an impact of telehealth on nursing.
Need for Telehealth Services
Telehealth – the use of electronic devices for communication and digital information receiving to access health care services remotely and improve the quality of care delivery.
The most common services include:
- Videoconferencing for consultation;
- Patient monitoring;
- Medical education;
- Health applications for self-management
- Transmission of medical reports and imaging (Gajarawala & Pelkowski, 2021).
- Telehealth services have become more essential during the pandemic.
- Due to telehealth, health care workers prevent the spread of COVID-19 and help as many patients as possible.
- 76% of hospitals in the United States use technology to connect with consulting practitioners and patients at a distance (American Hospital Association, n.d.).
- 22% of Americans currently use telehealth services (Festa, 2022).
- It provides health care delivery for underprivileged and low-income individuals and people with limited mobility or impairments and in rural or remote areas (Festa, 2022);
- It is convenient and cost-efficient;
- It may improve the quality of health care delivery;
- It protects health care providers and patients from infections.
- Direct interaction between health care provider and a patient via video or phone in real-time, live settings.
- real-time behavior observation;
- physical therapy sessions;
- consultations between health care providers and between a patient and a specialist;
- care plan education;
- symptom check.
Transmission of medical data and images made by a patient for its subsequent review by a health care provider.
- MRI or X-Ray sharing;
- sharing of records;
- wound imaging;
- patient report sharing;
- education quizzes;
- symptom survey questionnaires;
Telehealth is a convenient and cost-efficient tool that helps various population groups receive medical services.
However, the use of traditional services before telehealth is essential.
It is perfect for consultations and patient monitoring.
It may be used initially and on a regular basis only when other options are unavailable
Fathi et al. (2017) examine the use of telehealth in the United States, describe telehealth services’ modalities taking into consideration the factors of cost, necessity, quality, and means.
Since 1905, telehealth helps underserved populations receive care in a time-sensitive manner.
In the present day, technologically competent patients are ready to educate and receive treatment via electronic devices.
Modalities of telehealth:
- mobile health and ehealth;
- remote monitoring;
- eConsults (Fathi et al., 2017).
- Effective – health care delivery with proven efficacy
- Efficient – waste of resources is minimized
- Safe – Harm is prevented
- Timely –No harmful delays in health care delivery
- Patient Centered – Patient’s values, preferences, and needs are respected
- Equitable – All patients equally receive care
Telehealth may address challenges created by the legislation providing medical services for people who live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (Fathi et al., 2017).
The development of health care and the role of nurses in it should be considered.
Virtual services’ expansion will be supported by the Medicare Access, Chip Reauthorization Act (MACRA), and the Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment Program (Fathi et al., 2017).