The trend in 2019 is a move towards tele-practices, where doctors and other experts can assess and even treat patients remotely. This trend is seen also in senior healthcare. The use of incredibly advanced technology enables communication over a distance, while the participants can clearly see and hear each other. The same technology enables long-distance sharing of medical results and images.
Does Telehealth Really Exist?
Telehealth is not really that new. Since the the 1920’s, medical advice was transmitted via radio to patients on ships. What is new, is the use of modern communications devices and the application of telehealth to the business side of health, to save funds in a world where the cost of nursing continues to skyrocket.
Companies offering innovative treatments continue to spring up. One such company, Call9, has been in the news for that reason. Call9, a start-up company that markets tele-medical and telehealth amenities to nurses and residents in senior healthcare nursing homes is winding down their services, as reported by CNBC earlier this week.
It is noteworthy that the above-mentioned company, Call9, did achieve success in reducing re-admissions to hospital for nursing home residents in its premiere location, through its provision of on-site paramedics to give real-time emergency care via communications technology such as iPads.
Telehealth and nursing telepractice is a system that has really grown in the last 5 years, whereby doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals can practice long-distance healthcare using technologies such as web cameras, VOIP, internet and telephone.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth to Nursing?
The list of benefits that arise from telehealth services is quite impressive, however, it is unlikely to – and is not intended to – replace provision of skilled nursing facilities, rather it would complement the services provided in top skilled-nursing facilities.
Here are a few of the potential benefits of telemedicine:
- Reducing the costs of healthcare.
- Supporting in-person healthcare for patients with options for flexible follow-up care.
- Improving the experience for healthcare provider due to the flexibility of patient care, time-wise and/or location-wise.
A government study showing the added benefits telemedicine to patients lists these important points:
- There were fewer hospital re-admissions (31% less)
- Patients were likely to spend fewer days in hospital
- Patients were more involved in their healthcare.
The last point above is quite important, as patients, especially those in a rehabilitation setting, and their families, who take an interest in their healthcare and show greater involvement, make for better-informed patients who might enjoy a smoother experience in the healthcare system.
Trend for Senior Healthcare?
The trend could well continue in the direction of value-based healthcare, with a supply-push from innovative companies looking to offer new services and new ways of helping nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities to save money while providing a better service for senior healthcare.