What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Telehealth Nursing?
What is Telehealth Nursing?
The term telehealth describes the use of digital communication by healthcare providers for the purpose of assessing, diagnosing and treating patients. Telehealth nursing is the specific use of various forms of virtual healthcare provided by nurse practitioners and registered nurses.
Types of Telehealth
Telehealth encompasses a range of technologies to provide medical care and education services from a distance.
- Video Conferencing
Healthcare providers can speak with patients who cannot get to an in-person office visit due to health reasons or because the distance makes travel impractical.
- Digital Transmission
Patients can communicate with nurses and doctors by sending information such as photos, so details can be shared without waiting for a time when both parties are available. This is known as “store and forward.”
- Remote Patient Monitoring (Mobile Health)
Smart devices wirelessly transmit data such as blood pressure, heart rate or blood glucose levels.
What are the Advantages of Telehealth Nursing?
Telehealth Nursing offers many advantages.
- Better access to high-quality care
For patients, particularly those in senior living communities or in rural areas, telehealth nursing provides 24/7 access to medical care.
- Ability to manage chronic conditions better
Chronic illnesses such as diabetes or CPOD are managed better with regular monitoring. Remote patient monitoring can allow for contact between patient and nurse to occur more easily.
- Reduced risk of infection
Because patients are not put in contact with others in a doctor’s office or medical facility, the risk of contracting an illness from someone who is sick is eliminated.
- Saves time
Patients can get their questions answered sooner, or between in-person visits. Telehealth eliminates travel time and time spent in the waiting room, as well as wait times for an appointment.
- Saves money
In-person visits to doctors’ offices, urgent care centers or emergency rooms come with costs for medical claims, transportation and time. Telehealth eliminates those costs, which can be considerable.
- Reduced trips to the hospital
Providing telehealth access in a senior living community to connect patients with a doctor, nurse or specialist in real-time can eliminate unnecessary hospital visits. Hospital trips from these communities often take place because there isn’t always a doctor onsite. Telehealth provides that round-the-clock access to medical care.
Telehealth provides convenient access to a health professional for non-emergent situations that occur at inconvenient times, such as nights, weekends and holidays.
- Helps to keep caregivers connected
Family members who are far away can stay involved and informed in their loved one’s care. With technology, they can monitor the patient’s health, ask questions and virtually attend conferences with health care providers. This increases peace of mind for all involved.
What are the Disadvantages of Telehealth Nursing?
- It’s not good for every situation
Telehealth is a tool that can enhance a person’s care, but it cannot replace in-person care for everything. Healthcare providers sometimes need to do a hands-on exam to check for a fracture, listen to the patient’s heart or lungs or take a throat swab to check for strep.
- Technology barriers
The technology required for telehealth is not readily available everywhere. Rural areas often lack reliable internet connections and not all patients have smartphones or computers.
- Reduced continuity of care
Patients using telehealth may connect with a different provider each time and may discourage patients from scheduling in-person visits. This can create gaps in care that result in untreated medical issues.
- Patients can experience barriers to care
Seniors may find it challenging or uncomfortable to communicate with a health provider via technology rather than in person.
- Reimbursement can be inconsistent / insurance issues
Insurance plans have not universally embraced telehealth with consistent policies, coverage and reimbursement rates.
Colavria Hospitality currently manages four senior living communities in the Denver metro area which offer a unique mix of care options. Our mission is to provide those we serve with an environment that focuses on hospitality, person-centered relationships, and the well-being of each individual. Each community operates under our Core Principles of Collaboration, Innovation, and Harmony to assure a rich and secure lifestyle for patients as well as a pleasant working environment for our care team. We invite you to take a tour of our facilities.