- Telehealth services are necessary for bringing more access to healthcare among populations living in rural locations or facing doctor shortages. There are various regions around the country that do not possess adequate access to medical specialists. However, telehealth services offer patients the opportunity to speak directly with a medical provider via videoconferencing technology.
The state of Nebraska may be bringing more focus to reforming their telehealth services, according to the Kearney Hub publication. Nearly 300 professionals gathered at the Younes Conference Center to discuss a wide range of topics from healthcare regulation and population health management to telemedicine.
“What once seemed impossible is now possible through telehealth. We are seeing expansions and services in not only rural areas but in schools and the workplace,” Mary DeVany, the director Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center, said at the 25th-annual Nebraska Rural Health Conference.
Telehealth services can both cut costs and travel time patients take to see their primary care doctors or other specialists. Additionally, telehealth could potentially include the use of remote monitoring technology to better track the health of chronically ill patients.
“Telecommunications not only reduces costs for companies but also for the employee who has to take time off work, drive across town, wait in the waiting room, and what if that employee has children? More than likely, there’s child-care costs involved, too. Workplace telehealth reduces both cost to the company and the employee. It reduces time off and creates employee satisfaction,” DeVany said.
Along with telehealth services and remote monitoring technology, mobile health apps and wearable devices offer more access to care among consumers living in rural locations or facing doctor shortages. Additionally, there are technology companies making headway in improving telehealth services and healthcare access among schools. Specialized stethoscopes and camera technologies are used throughout schools to offer healthcare providers a glimpse into their medical concerns.
“They collaborate with primary-care physicians to provide many services. This includes addressing acute issues such as the common earache or stomachache to sports physicals and telepsychology/telebehavioral health,” DeVany explained.
Telehealth services also offer primary care physicians or other specialists the opportunity to send images and communicate with other providers throughout their state in order to better diagnose a problem. Also, psychiatrists, psychologists, or general counselors could use telehealth technology to communicate with their patients more quickly and effectively.
Remote monitoring technology can allow doctors to track patients in hospitals from afar. Additionally, telemedicine offers a way for physicians to analyze radiology results and offer pharmacy services remotely.
During the conference, DeVany also mentioned, “Because of telehealth, we are seeing expectations change. Both patients and providers are expecting to have access to various services. The thought is, ‘Why not?’”
Along with Nebraska, states throughout the country are implementing changes to their telehealth offerings. More legislation is being incorporated to ensure payment parity between brick-and-mortar healthcare and telehealth services. Telemedicine is sure to change the landscape of the medical industry over the coming years.