With an ageing population and the ever-increasing prevalence of both chronic and long-term illnesses, the commissioning and delivery of integrated health and social care has become a significant challenge. The need for new care models and technologies such as telehealth and telecare to support long-term care has never been greater.
Telehealth and telecare innovations have the potential to improve quality of life for users and to reduce unnecessary hospital and care home admissions, though robust information on costs and outcomes is lacking.
Most people are familiar with telemedicine being used to provide basic medical consultations to patients in rural or medical underserved areas. Patients sit in an exam room and connect with an off-site physician or nurse practitioner via secure video conferencing. However, medical providers, companies, and even the military are using telemedicine for to provide care well beyond the exam room. For example, schools that have a telemedicine program can speed up the process of ill students’ diagnostics and even prescribe medications, allowing students to get healthy and back in the classroom quicker.
Telemedicine technology allow keep the nursing home residents out of the ED, treating soldiers on the battlefield, reaching patients worldwide, connecting providers in the operating room and many other innovative uses amount of which are increasing rapidly.
As the technology advances and more people become aware of the advantages of using telemedicine, there will likely be many more innovative ways medical professionals can connect with people in need.