Hospitals were one of the first adopters of early telehealth technology, allowing medical professionals to communicate with one another and with their patients. However, much has changed in the last five years: different telehealth modalities exist to provide better care to patients in hospitals, and at home. There are many different specialties that fall under the category of telehealth, including:
Hospitals and health systems have found ways to treat these patients using various methods of communication. The following telehealth interactions enable hospitals to reduce readmissions, and also permit patients to remain in the comfort of their homes for treatments and monitoring.
1. Real-Time (used in telepsychiatry, home care, and telecardiology)- live video-conferencing between provider and patient.
2. Store-and-Forward (used in teledermatology and telepathology)- creating, storing and transmitting digital files, including images, video, audio and clinical data, from patients’ computers to medical providers for analysis.
3. Remote Patient Monitoring (used in chronic disease management)- sensors and other monitoring equipment feed data from the patient’s home to medical providers at an external location.
Using these systems, diagnosing and treating medical conditions are becoming less cumbersome for medical professionals. Telehealth also makes it possible to treat patients in a less expensive and more convenient fashion.