Telehealth refers to the use of technology to deliver healthcare, health information or education at a distance. It has varied applications that include teleradiology where results are forwarded to another facility for diagnosis. Professional education and specialists presentations are also critical applications of the telehealth technology. It is worth understanding that new applications are being invented and tested on a daily basis as the level of technology advances. The applications are of two types namely; real-time communication and store and forward that are commonly used in nursing practice. The applications in most cases involve tele conversation, audio/video links and teleconferencing where diagnosis and transmission of information are digitally transmitted.
Telehealth applications have both its benefits and challenges that are significantly involved in the process. For instance, the applications are essential in time-saving since there are no time and resources to travel to seek medical attention. It is also important understanding that the applications are critical in enabling early detection of disease processes and other health issues. The process also ensures increased healthcare productivity and patient satisfaction with healthcare among other crucial benefits.
Nevertheless, there are numerous challenges associated with the telehealth applications. The major challenge associated with the applications is the confidentiality, privacy and informed patients that are of great concern in health practice. This is an important challenge that also contributes to the licensing and credentialing process. Technological transmission of health data and live video conferencing is susceptible to hackers, and crucial health information might find its way to the wrong destination. It is, therefore, paramount for health providers to ensure that necessary measures are put in place to ensure efficiency and confidentiality of patient’s information are not compromised. The use of this technology is highly recommendable in cases where transport costs are too high, and specialists are at far distance mostly in cases of remote areas.
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