It's no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing mandates turned the healthcare industry upside down. A shortage of facility space, nursing staff, PPE, and qualified clinicians plagued practices around the country as they searched for ways to maintain patient care. Many practices adapted their businesses to provide multiple forms of virtual care for their patients. The resulting telehealth solutions became a staple to the healthcare industry and improved many patient and metric outcomes.
What is telehealth, and how can it benefit your practice? We'll answer those questions in this article. We'll also detail five telehealth solutions that every practice should invest in for the highest quality of care.
The Top Benefits of Telehealth
Telehealth — also known as telemedicine — helps healthcare providers care for their patients with fewer in-person visits. It primarily uses technology such as videoconferencing software, the Internet, and devices like tablets, computers, or smartphones to connect carers with their patients.
Telehealth provides many benefits for you, your practice, and your patients.
Healthcare Facilities Save on Costs
Telehealth solutions reduce general expenses for healthcare facilities, such as:
- Space for examination rooms
- Front desk support
- Treatment materials
Telehealth solutions also greatly conserve personal protective equipment, one of the most significant expenses that faced healthcare practices during the pandemic, with an average increase of 57%.
Savings apply across various medical disciplines, including cardiology, pediatric medicine, and dermatology.
Providers Can Easily Collaborate on Care Plans
In the past, the collaboration between healthcare professionals often required in-person meetings and even out-of-state travel. But advances in telehealth allow providers from different specialties to meet virtually, even during ongoing treatment. Clinicians can also meet with diagnostic teams much more easily to get vital information for diagnosis and treatment.
On-demand scientific exchange and consultation are a welcome result of this collaboration of different fields of expertise, which increases productivity and metric outcomes.
Patients Experience Virtual Visits From Family
Patients face various personal barriers when they schedule in-person visits with their doctor. They may have to try to arrange childcare, transportation, and more.
Telehealth eliminates all these barriers to patient care. Patients can visit with their clinicians from the comfort of their own homes. The video technology also allows conference calls, so family members can join the visits even if they're not there in person.The ability to have family closeness and support during virtual visits is one of the most appreciated factors of telehealth. Families who need counseling from a therapist can even access telehealth therapy without geographic barriers, which makes it much easier for family members to attend each session.
Clinical Outcomes Improve
Telehealth solutions allow care teams to assess their patients better and reduce the risk of infection by:
- Reducing clinician exposure to contagious diseases
- Preventing health-compromised patient exposure to infections
- Increased patient education opportunities
- Direct communication that increases patient responsiveness and satisfaction
The patient can also monitor their condition and receive feedback from you in real-time, reducing the notification time of any updates or changes. You can follow up with the patient much more quickly and easily via virtual communication tools, dramatically improving their engagement and health outcomes.
Telehealth Solutions That Every Practice Should Invest In
Telehealth can be applied to virtually every phase of the doctor-patient care journey. Telehealthcare solutions ensure that your patients have the best experience possible and improve your patient outcomes.
There are many different solutions available as telehealth continues to expand, but there are five that every practice should invest in for the best success.
1. Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)
Now more than ever, health practices need to include accessible options for patients with cognitive disabilities such as hearing loss. Federal civil rights laws may require some covered entities to provide ASL interpreting services for deaf or hard-of-hearing patients.
Video Remote Interpreting (VRI) provides the solution. VRI technology provides off-site interpreting services for people with hearing challenges. It uses a high-speed internet connection, videoconferencing technology, and equipment like tablets or webcams to connect with a qualified interpreter.
You and your deaf or hard-of-hearing patient can communicate through the interpreter via VRI. The interpreter conveys what you say to the patient using American sign language. They also verbally share the patient's questions and comments with you in your preferred language.
You can contact for VRI services to be available on demand 24/7 or just by appointment. So you can tailor telehealth services to your practice.
Sometimes stroke patients cannot make in-person visits with specialists, especially in rural areas with limited medical resources. But they can access the quality of care they need to treat their condition through telestroke.
Through telestroke, also known as stroke telemedicine, healthcare providers with advanced stroke treatment training provide remote care to stroke patients, including:
- Consultative support
Stroke experts collaborate with local ER doctors to diagnose stroke patients and recommend treatment they can access in their community. They communicate with local healthcare providers using internet telecommunications, video cameras, smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Telehealth visits can even be given via a telepresence robot — a freely-moving robot that uses a mobile device, tablet, or laptop to videoconference with professionals — thanks to technological advances. The stroke specialist can use the robot to communicate directly with the patient as if they were in the room.
This wonderful technology enhances clinical practice, provides access to quality healthcare and expertise, and improves patient outcomes and metrics.
3. Virtual Rounding
The COVID-19 pandemic forced practitioners and healthcare providers to devise innovative solutions to care for their patients while minimizing in-person interactions. Visiting patients without face-to-face interaction seemed impossible in the past, but virtual rounding made telehealth visits possible.
As the name suggests, virtual rounding is when a physician visits patients virtually during their rounds via videoconferencing. Virtual rounding mimics the face-to-face experience with:
- Devices such as tablets or phones
- Video collaboration software
- Electronic medical records
- Telehealth peripheral devices such as electronic stethoscopes
- All-in-one telehealth carts
Patients no longer have to come to the office. Practitioners don't have to drive to the hospital or walk across campus to see their patients.
Virtual rounding also increases clinician responsiveness and efficiency, greatly improving the patient experience.
Let’s explore the possibilities together.
Tryten is ready and willing to help with your project, big or small, and our wide variety of platforms can support your medical & technology devices, telehealth expansion, or overhauls and more. Let us use our guidance to support you today.
4. Remote Monitoring
Remote monitoring — also known as remote physiologic monitoring — utilizes digital technologies to monitor, analyze, and report your patients' acute or chronic health conditions from outside the clinic or hospital setting. You can monitor a wide variety of conditions, including:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Chronic heart conditions
- Sleep apnea
Remote monitoring uses a device with a coordinated system that collects and transmits patient data to you via the Internet. Patients can use remote patient monitoring (RPM) devices to collect the needed information, such as their weight, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and more.
There are a variety of RPM devices, including:
- Bluetooth blood pressure cuffs
- Digital glucometers
- Pulse oximeters
- ECG + digital stethoscopes
- Wearable activity trackers
- Bluetooth thermometers
- Bluetooth scales
Unlike traditional monitoring devices, these medical devices transmit the reading directly to you. You can then save this information in the system and track changes to gain valuable insights into your patient's current condition.
Remote monitoring technology allows patients with severe health issues to remain at home while receiving adequate care. The expanded capabilities are especially beneficial to patients with chronic conditions who struggle to leave their homes for medical visits.
5. Virtual Nursing
Just as the name implies, virtual nursing involves nurse care from a remote location. This telehealth approach to nursing uses technology such as webcams, phone lines, the Internet, and VoIP to deliver nursing care over a distance.
Virtual nurses can support on-site care teams to reduce their workload and improve the nursing staff and patient experience. Remote support is exceptionally beneficial for healthcare practices, especially with the ongoing nursing staff shortage facing the healthcare industry.
Physicians can delegate tasks that can be completed remotely to virtual RNs, such as:
- Discharge teaching
- Admission database
- Procedure checklist completion
- Medication reconciliation
- Patient education/teaching
- Second nurse sign-off for skin or med checks
- Contacting families
Delegation to virtual RNs frees up time for the on-site RN to answer calls sooner, manage patients' physical needs, and spend more time with the patients. Patients can also access the virtual RN to answer questions or provide information with a click of a button. These benefits greatly enhance the patient experience when combined.
Smooth-Rolling Carts for a Smoother Workflow
Telehealth has revolutionized the healthcare industry, and it's here to stay. Whether you're seeking to expand your nursing care team, monitor your patient's condition, or provide remote specialized care, there is a telehealth solution for you.
Utilizing many forms of technology and devices can become confusing and bog down your workflow. But there is a perfect solution for you.Tryten Technologies offers all-in-one telehealth carts that streamline the care process for you and your patients. Our lightweight, high-quality carts provide the ultimate flexibility and durability to address all of your remote care needs. Contact us today to see how you can make virtual care a practical and effective reality for your practice.