Are Online Healthcare Services the Future of Medicine?

doctor using laptop

It seems like we haven’t seen the end of the tunnel for the things that technology could do for us. From connecting people on the different sides of the globe, purchasing goods and services, and building digital empires, we thought we’d seen it all.

But dominating the healthcare services through the merging of telehealth and home care services to expand the access to essential health has been making noise for its significant contribution, especially during the coronavirus outbreak.

As the world continues to battle the pandemic, one of the most vulnerable and has the highest risk of getting infected are older people with pre-existing medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Thus, limited movements and stay-at-home measures are necessary to keep them and the public safe. However, our enemy isn’t just limited to that of Covid-19. Most of them are also suffering from other diseases and pain, which intensifies the need for our health system to think of better strategies to address the issue.

That’s where telehealth and home care services come in.

What Is Telehealth?

The evolution of telehealth goes as far back as the ‘50s. In retrospect, it’s using communication technologies, such as smartphones, tech gadgets, and computers used to gather digital information and remotely access and provide health care services.

Think of it as a virtual visit to your doctor. Through video or phone calls, your health care provider can monitor and check on you while you’re at the comforts of your home. This is usually accompanied by devices that cater to each one’s needs and consultation. For example, they could provide you a device that measures your heart rate and then lets it send that information to your provider.

The goal of telehealth is simple. It’s to provide accessible and necessary health care services for those located in isolated communities, those with limited mobility, those with time and transportation restrictions, and whatnot.

doctor texting

What Are Home Care Services? 

Home Care Services are focused more, although not limited to, providing in-home services for senior citizens, especially those who need assistance in managing various health issues, recoveries, special needs, disability, and so on.

Depending on the individual’s needs, home care caregivers ranges from nurses, aides, therapist, and other providers that offer short-term or long-term care.

Working Hand in Hand

Bringing healthcare to your home has become a major relief for most of us for years. However, with the outbreak of coronavirus, the strategy that once eased our health care system seems to sink. A 2020 survey by the Home Care Association of New York State (HCA-NYS) found that almost half of home health agencies have experienced refusal of service from patients or family members.

Home care offers a wide range of services such as private nursing care, home health aide, and physical therapy for those who need personal care and companionship, and so on.

Thus, the need to incorporate telehealth into the current home care services system is imperative. Implementing it will not only help home care agencies preserve their patients, but it will also help their staff keep their job and continue doing what they do best: providing compassion, care, and being present for their patients.

However, there are still problems that telehealth encounters. For example, if your virtual consultation is with someone new, they may not have all of your medical histories. In some cases, diagnosis may not be possible due to limited equipment and medical check background.

Technology, as much as it is the solution, can also be the problem if your internet connection is lost or you’ve encountered some technical difficulty with your gadgets. And lastly, because this strategy is relatively new, some insurance agencies do not cover telehealth visits just yet.

Currently, telehealth caters to those who require overall health and wellness care, eye check-ups, mental health and nutrition counseling, those who are seeking a prescription for their medication, and other urgent care conditions.

If there’s one thing we can learn from what we’ve seen so far in our history, it’s that things always find a way to make things work, especially in the medical field and technology. For example, the medical breakthrough from the traditional colonoscopy to wire capsule endoscopy enabled experts to view multiple images of the small intestine without the rigorous procedure of its traditional counterpart.

Virtual health care opens up many possibilities for patients to become actively involved with taking care of their health and at the same time for health agencies and practitioners to gather substantial information from them for their careful diagnosis and fast recovery.

The future of health care is endless. And the possibility of technology being a part of it is fruitful.

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