Tag Archives: Telehealth Options

TELEHEALTH: OLDER ADULTS INCREASINGLY FIND VIRTUAL VISITS SAME AS IN-PERSON

From the John A. Hartford Foundation:

While the benefits of telehealth are myriad and more apparent than ever, our survey revealed that 41% of older adults did not see telehealth as living up to the in-person experience. Providers must optimize the technology so that it caters to the less tech-savvy patient and caregivers—especially, if it is their only means of accessing health care—so that it replicates the in-person visit as close as possible. 

survey we recently conducted shows that more than half of US adults age 70 and older (55%) experienced a disruption in their medical care during the first month of social distancing due to COVID-19. These older adults were most likely to delay primary or preventive care, and that’s alarming. Even more worrying, 15% of older adults put off essential medical treatment because of the pandemic. We don’t need medical degrees to know that delaying necessary care does not make the outcomes better.

As older adults continue to delay getting needed care, the problem will compound—increasing pent-up demand for services will ultimately vex health systems as patients’ conditions worsen. We think about the 4Ms of age-friendly care – what Matters, Medication, Mentation and Mobility – and how the pandemic may be delaying the assessments and interventions needed to prevent medication errors or to preserve cognitive and functional status.

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TELEMEDICINE BENEFITS: PATIENT’S “CONVENIENCE & SAFETY” TOP THE LIST

From a Permanente.org online article (May 11, 2020):

“Our patients are glad we offer telehealth options because they don’t want to come to the medical centers. This allows them to stay home and stay safe,” Dr. Lee says. “Before, telehealth was a choice and convenience, but now it’s one of the ways patients remain healthy with social distancing.”

The majority of telehealth visits are phone appointments, but Dr. Lee says video usage is increasing as more patients become comfortable with the platform.

Telehealth can also include services such as remote patient monitoring, which allows patients to take blood pressure measurements and blood sugar readings at home so that their care teams can monitor ongoing health conditions. In the case of the Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic States region, doctors also use telehealth to do rounds virtually for patients who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

Patients at higher risk for complications are given pulse oximeters so their doctor can monitor for signs of severe respiratory infection before other symptoms might indicate a need for additional care, including hospitalization.

COMMENTARY

TELEHEALTH is HERE TO STAY. It came in with the telephone, and has been gaining in recent decades. The distancing and Patient convenience so characteristic of Telehealth made it a natural fit for Covid 19, which has accelerated its’ adoption.

Your CLINICAL HISTORY, led by the Story of your Present Illness, has since time immemorial been the MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENT leading to accurate  DIAGNOSIS. During a TELEMEDICINE VISIT, your doctor must make the MOST out of your clinical history. She can’t do a proper Physical Exam, although she can usually see you, and maybe direct a SELF exam. Teledata, such as EKG,B.P., and blood sugar will become increasingly available.

Your Doctor can usually get enough information to order Lab work and Imaging; and prolix ordering can be tempered, since a good HISTORY of the PRESENT ILLNESS, systems review, past and family history can narrow the diagnostic possibilities considerably. The pressure of time and demanding computer Records may lead the overworked Doctor to use Lab Tests to make up for insufficient Medical History.

Integrated medical systems, such as Kaiser, can also easily access your past medical information, one of the advantages of having everything under one roof.

Informed Patients, SELF-EDUCATING themselves from the vast trove of medical information on the internet (and maybe DWWR) can author their own MEDICAL NARRATIVE, or at least make the Doctors job easier.

—Dr. C.

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VIRTUAL HEALTH: “CHRONIC CARE MANAGEMENT” PROVES VALUE OF TELEMEDICINE

From a ComputerWorld article (April 27, 2020):

While the pandemic will prove the value of virtual care in a crisis, it will also demonstrate the effectiveness for ongoing chronic care management,” she said. “This moment will have a lasting effect on the adoption of virtual care and accelerate the shift from in-person care to virtual first engagement for multiple conditions and use cases.”

While the need for remote care will not be as acute once the pandemic crisis subsides, demand for telehealth systems will likely remain high. Forrester now expects more than one billion virtual care visits this year, the vast majority of them related to COVID-19.

“…After the crisis subsides, there will be a patient population that will want to continue to receive care online for some things, like managing chronic conditions, follow-up visits after an inpatient stay, surgery or to discuss diagnostic results,” she said.

In this case, it will be important for healthcare providers to ensure that patients are aware of the availability of services.

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HHS Website: “Telehealth – Health Care From The Safety Of Our Homes”

For patients

Wondering how to get started with telehealth? Check out the information below to better understand your options.

Patient standing and looking at a huge phone screen (larger than life) that has a doctor inside of it. Waving to each other.

Finding telehealth options

If screening tools and self-checkers do not lead you to the care or information you are seeking, you can reach out directly to your doctor or health insurance company for options that can help connect you to a provider online. Understanding telehealth

Find out what it is, what to expect during a visit, and what kinds of care may be available. Telehealth during the COVID-19 emergency

Whether you’re looking for health care related to COVID-19 or something else, find out more about how to prepare for the visit. Preparing for a video visit

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