Tag Archives: Telehealth

TELEHEALTH: ‘ADVANTAGES & DISADVANTAGES’ (HARVARD)

Telehealth is defined as the delivery of health care services at a distance through the use of technology. It can include everything from conducting medical visits over the computer, to monitoring patients’ vital signs remotely. Its definition is broader than that of telemedicine, which only includes the remote delivery of health care.

Telehealth can be delivered in one of three ways:

  • Synchronous—when the doctor communicates with the patient in real time via computer or telephone
  • Asynchronous—when data, images, or messages are recorded to share with the doctor later
  • Remote patient monitoring—when measurements such as weight or blood pressure are sent to the health care provider

What you can do with telehealth

All of the following activities and services are possible with the help of telehealth:

  • Recording measurements like your weight, food intake, blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar levels either manually, or through a wearable device, and sending them to your doctor.
  • Having a virtual visit with your doctor or a nurse over your computer or smartphone.
  • Using an online portal to check your test results, request prescription refills, send your doctor a message, or schedule an appointment.
  • Sharing information such as your test results, diagnoses, medications, and drug allergies with all of the providers you see.
  • Coordinating care between your primary care provider and any specialists you visit—including the sharing of exam notes and test results between medical offices in different locations.
  • Getting email or text reminders when you’re due for mammograms, colonoscopies, and other screenings, or routine vaccinations.
  • Monitoring older adults at home to make sure they are eating, sleeping, and taking their medications on schedule.

Downsides to telehealth

Telehealth offers a convenient and cost-effective way to see your doctor without having to leave your home, but it does have a few downsides.

  • It isn’t possible to do every type of visit remotely. You still have to go into the office for things like imaging tests and blood work, as well as for diagnoses that require a more hands-on approach.
  • The security of personal health data transmitted electronically is a concern.
  • While insurance companies are increasingly covering the cost of telehealth visits during the COVID-19 pandemic, some services may not be fully covered, leading to out-of-pocket costs.

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Surveys: Telemedicine Surges With “Chronic Condition” Patients

Though people living with a chronic condition have a vast range of experiences, our data show that the most common way they managed their condition between March and May 2020 was through telemedicine (45 percent). Only 8 percent had used it before… 

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Telehealth: Older Adults increase Use Of Virtual Visits from 4% To 26% (2020)

From 2019 to 2020, there was a substantial increase in the proportion of older adults who reported that their health care providers offered telehealth visits. In May 2019, 14% of older adults said that their health care providers offered telehealth visits, compared to 62% in June 2020.

Similarly, the percentage of older adults who had ever participated in a telehealth visit rose sharply from 4% in May 2019 to 30% in June 2020. Of those surveyed in 2020, 6% reported having a telehealth visit prior to March 2020, while 26% reported having a telehealth visit in the period from March to June 2020.

Over the past year, some concerns about telehealth visits decreased among adults age 50–80 whether or not they had a telehealth visit. Older adults’ concerns about privacy in telehealth visits decreased from 49% in May 2019 to 24% in June 2020, and concerns about having difficulty seeing or hearing health care providers in telehealth visits decreased from 39% in May 2019 to 25% in June 2020. Concerns about not feeling personally connected to the health care provider decreased slightly (49% to 45%).

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INNOVATION: PHILIPS “VIRTUAL CARE STATION”

Philips Virtual Care Station, inspired by the VA’s ATLAS program, is a community-based telehealth solution designed to expand access to high-quality care by connecting patients and providers remotely through a secure, clinical-grade environment.

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TELEMEDICINE: “HEAL PASS” – PHYSICIAN “HOUSE CALLS” FOR FIXED MONTHLY FEE

By providing house calls and telemedicine from physicians at a fixed monthly fee with no copays, no deductibles, and no insurance required, Heal Pass is making affordable healthcare possible for the estimated 27 million Americans who recently lost their health insurance along with their jobs because of COVID-19.

  • Heal patients can register now for the new service starting at $49 per month.
  • Adults can add members of their household to their Heal Pass account for an additional $10 per person each month and may register up to six people to the account.
  • Patients spend an average of $800 out of pocket each year, in addition to $2,000 for an emergency room visit.
  • With Heal Pass, a family of four would receive up to 36 total appointments at an average cost of less than $27.
  • Individual patients can save up to $1,100 per year and the average family can save up to $2,200 per year.

Uninsured individuals and their families are fearful of getting sick and accumulating high medical bills during this time of economic uncertainty.

Heal Pass is not health insurance, but it is health assurance, giving the uninsured the comfort of knowing they can get the care they need at a fixed, low fee with no surprise bills or out of pocket costs.

The new program allows up to eight house calls or telemedicine appointments per member each year in addition to an annual physical, helping with patients’ most common needs, including primary care, preventive care, non-emergency urgent care and chronic disease management.

It also includes free next day delivery of medications prescribed by a Heal doctor. Heal doctors are highly qualified and deliver house calls and care in a way that keeps patients safe from COVID-19 exposure as the country sees a pronounced second spike with 58,618 cases per day on average over the last seven days.

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COMMENTARY

Telemedicine and Covid 19 are fermenting together and creating some new ideas for medical care.

Safety is a concern, and what could be better than your own home, using telemedicine, or a futuristic telemedicine booth located at convenient locations for the busy traveler?

Convenience is another attraction, with a PREPAID aliquot of healthcare; this idea was featured by Forward Health, reviewed a couple of weeks ago, which offered a package of remote monitors and 24/7 access for $149 per month.

Now, Heal pass offers 24/7 access they call “house calls” for $49. a month, with a blizzard of statistics on what you will save. We will see.

You usually get what you pay for.

The Onmed station sounds doable, and has the advantage of self-contained units that may be available to you at the right place and time. You could conceivably even wind up with a prescription as you exit the booth.

—Dr. C.