What Does Telehealth Mean?
Telehealth can be described in many ways, however, the simplest definition I have found is “The use of digital information and communication technologies to access health care services remotely and manage your health care.” (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2022). Telehealth allows those who may not have the proper means to access healthcare to still be able to get the quality care they want and deserve, without being face-to-face. There are many benefits and routes to using this rapidly changing and improving technology.
When telehealth was first introduced, nobody knew the leaps it would take to get to where it is today. We are at a point when telehealth is widely being used. In addition, more ideas, devices, and monitors are being developed. As of now, we have many uses and devices that are common within telehealth, such as:
- Virtual visits (facility to facility, facility to home, and/or home to home) – These visits allow versatility where doctors from different facilities can talk over the internet, as well as allow video conversations between providers and patients from a variety of places when needed.
- Remote monitoring such as weight scales and pulse oximeters
- Mobile apps that include all fitness apps, Apple watches, and period trackers
- Online patient portals – These portals allow patients to keep track of doctor visits, test results, and to communicate with their doctor if needed. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2022)
In the future, we can expect to see more ways that telehealth will be in use. Some technologies already in discussion include applications such as , adding a blood pressure feature to smart watches, jewelry, clothing, and contact lenses. (Explore Beyond, 2022).
Effects of Telehealth and Telemedicine in Eastern Kentucky
In Eastern Kentucky, there are large cities such as Lexington and Richmond that house and hold many people and health facilities, however, many people live in more rural areas of the state. Because of this, it is harder for them to get back and forth from a healthcare facility when they need care.
Across the U.S., there have been many technological advances within telemedicine, but in Kentucky, there are many smaller facilities that may not have had the staff nor the money to keep up with the market of telemedicine and telehealth. Kentucky is now advancing their telemedicine program by providing more telemedicine carts and inpatient carts. These rolling carts with computers screens and cameras will allow those who don’t have easy access to care to connect with providers, specialty providers, and others. (Robinson, B., & Saylor, J., 2021).
By: Madison Bonny, EKU Health Services Administration Student
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Explore Beyond. (2022, April 28). The future of telehealth: What does it look like? Retrieved March 5, 2023, from https://www.explorebeyond.org/stories/the-future-of-telehealth-what-does-it-look-like
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2022, June 18). Telehealth: Technology meets health care. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 5, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/telehealth/art-20044878
Robinson, B., & Saylor, J. (2021, October 22). ARH will use more than $500,000 of USDA funding to enhance telemedicine program. https://www.wymt.com. Retrieved March 5, 2023, from https://www.wymt.com/2021/10/22/arh-will-use-more-than-500000-usda-broadband-funding-enhance-telemedicine-program/