Theinvolvement of telecommunications technology for improvement of patient caremay basically include sending medical images to a specialist for interpretation,a live two-way video consultation between a patient and a provider, capturingand sending data or information from vital sign monitoring devices andincorporating all of these matters into electronic medical records. Thetelemedicine use has become an integrated part of ongoing operations ofemergency rooms, ambulatory care facilities, radiology departments, home healthagencies and private physician offices.
Moreover, the federally funded demonstrationsto hospitals have extended their help to patients located in the remote areas. Owingto innovative & newer developments in telecommunications field, establishmentof internet and lowered technology costs, the telemedicine growth over the nexteight years is anticipated to have a profound and revolutionary effect on thedelivery of medical care throughout the world. Telemedicine mainly refers tothe usage of medical or health information exchanged from one site to another viaelectronic communications to improve the patients’ health status. On the otherhand, although telehealth is closely associated with telemedicine, the meaningfor the same encompass a broader definition of remote healthcare thatnecessarily does not always involve clinical services. Basicssuch as videoconferencing, still image transmission, e-health including patientportals, continuing medical education, monitoring of vital signs and nursingcall centers are all considered under telemedicine and telehealth. Telemedicinemainly incorporates the different types of products and services provided forthe patient. We shall list some points below that would stress on the usage whytelemedicine is used by patients and doctors.
ImprovedAccess: Since many years, telemedicine has been continuously used to bringhealthcare services to patients in distant locations. Not only telemedicine improvethe access to patients but also allows the physicians and health facilities toexpand their reach, beyond their own offices.CostEfficiencies: Reduction of healthcare cost is one of the major goals andreasons for adoption of telehealth technologies. It has been reported earlierthat telemedicine has been shown to reduce the cost of healthcare and increaseefficiency through better management of chronic diseases, shared health professionalstaffing, reduced travel times, and fewer or shorter hospital stays. PatientDemand: Increasing consumer interest for telemedicine and telehealth isexpected to assist the overall market growth over the forecast period. Thegreatest impact of the former is on patient, their family and their community. Theuse of telemedicine technologies reduces travel time and related stresses tothe patient. Therehas been exceptional support for telemedical services by patients over the lastfifteen years.
Based on studies conducted by several agencies within thefederal government and other assessments by commercial vendors and ATA (AmericanTelemedicine Association), it is estimated that there are about 200telemedicine networks in the United States involving close to 3,500 medical andhealthcare institutions throughout the country. Some are more active thanothers and many combine clinical services with continuing education programs aswell. Point-to-point connections using private networks are used by hospitalsand clinics that deliver services directly or outsource specialty services toindependent medical service providers at ambulatory care sites. Radiology,mental health and even intensive care services are being provided undercontract using telemedicine to deliver the services. Primaryor specialty care to the home connections involves connecting primary careproviders, specialists and home health nurses with patients over single linephone-video systems for interactive clinical consultations.
Such factors areexpected to positively impact the overall market growth over the forecastperiod. Hometo monitoring center links are used for pacemaker, cardiac, pulmonary or fetalmonitoring, home care and related services that provide care to patients in thehome only. Usually normal phone lines are used to communicate directly betweenthe patient and the center but some systems use the internet. It is estimatedthat over 200,000 patients use such services in the United States alone.Web-basede-health patient service sites provide direct consumer outreach and servicesover the internet. Under telemedicine, these include those sites that providedirect patient care.
Telehealthis the usage of digital technologies to deliver medical care, health educationand public health services by connecting multiple users in separate ordifferent locations. Telehealth encompasses a broad definition oftechnology-enabled health care services. Telehealth includes telemedicine andservices such as assessment, monitoring, communications, prevention andeducation. The National Consortium of Telehealth Resource Centers finalized aTelehealth Definition Framework to help policy makers, practitioners, payers,and the public understand how to accurately discuss “telehealth” and its keycomponents.
The consortium consists of the twelve federally designated regionalcenters and two national telehealth resource centers (TRCs). Telehealth is acollection of means or methods for enhancing healthcare, public health, andhealth education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies. Thethree ways in which telehealth clinical services (or telemedicine) are currentlydelivered are:· Video Conferencing: This is used forreal-time patient-provider consultations, provider-to-provider discussions andlanguage translation services.· Remote patient monitoring: This is processwhere the patients’ health information is delivered to healthcare providers. · Store & forward technologies: This is theway is which where the information is electronically transmitted through pre-recordedvideos & digital images such as X-rays, video clips and photos, betweenprimary care providers and medical specialists.