Telehealth is the utilization of telecommunication systems to supply health or medical care. Examples include videoconferencing, store and forward technologies, and remote monitoring devices. Over the last 5-10 years since the wide acceptance and availability of broadband technology, the utilization of telehealth applications has substantially increased. The private sector is estimated to be worth over $1 billion by the conclusion of 2010. Additionally, over $4 billion has been appropriated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to aid Health IT. The building blocks of telehealth technologies is supported by two main ideas, the lowering of travel time and its associated costs.
In line with the American Telemedicine Association, telehealth technologies give a clinician the ability to monitor and measure patient health data and emotional pet support information over geographical, social, and cultural distances. Additionally, these video and non-video technologies are utilized to get and transmit patient health information. Telehealth technologies can track the vital signs of patients with diseases, such as for instance congestive heart failure, diabetes, and other various chronic and acute illnesses. Telehealth systems are supported in hospitals and homes across the country, particularly because of their preventive medicine applications. The faster information can be gathered and transferred to the appropriate professional, the better it is for the patient. Studies show a decrease in emergency room visits and rescue calls, resulting in improved health outcomes for patients receiving continuous care via telehealth monitoring. These outcomes include a rise in medication compliance, a decline in patient isolation, and improved usage of immediate care and services.
Limited top speed access to the internet in certain geographic regions provides some difficulties in the delivery of telehealth applications, specifically real-time interactive video. Because of the bandwidth demands of interactive video, patients living in rural areas tend to utilize telephone or email applications instead. Another disadvantage is the possible lack of insurance reimbursement. Although there are certainly a few reimbursement models through Medicare, private insurance companies provide hardly any support for telehealth technologies. Additionally, the liabilities of intervention have yet to be fully understood as a result of novelty of this service delivery medium. Among the biggest setbacks for nationwide telehealth adoption is the expense of the technology. Some large videoconferencing rooms can cost in the up to $200,000. However, since the technology components get cheaper and better, overall costs wil dramatically reduce over time.
Although nearly all telehealth applications are related to elderly individuals, other arenas are being tested and considered. Children with physical, mental, or developmental disabilities are being treated and monitored by non-medical and medical professionals in the comfort of these home. By using interactive video, the parents and children may have therapy sessions with their professional remotely. It is very important to appreciate that this advanced interactive video is unlike standard web chat hardware and software. Advanced interactive video includes dynamic remote controls, pan-tilt-zoom camera capabilities, public and private audio modes, advanced video and audio clarity controls, and secure data encryption. Consequently, without these features, remote therapeutic improvements could be more difficult to obtain.