As America’s population ages and the cost of providing long-term care rises, medical professionals are turning to new technology to help them deliver effective care while enabling the elderly to remain in their homes longer. Telehealth solutions are providing the basis for a care revolution that marries sound medical practices with technology.
Although relatively new, the telehealth movement seeks to use technology such as televisions, computers and WiFi-connected devices to enable doctors and other medical professionals to monitor patient health in real time from remote locations. The tools of this developing trade differ, but the main goals are essentially the same regardless of application: better management of patient care while enabling patients to remain independent longer.
Medical practitioners are using a variety of tools to help them manage patient care as telehealth practices become more accepted. Some of the tools in use include:
Telehealth advancements have the potential to deliver two very strong benefits to elderly patients and medical professionals alike:
Lutheran SeniorLife’s LIFE programs in Pennsylvania are using the MobileCare Monitor to keep track of patients in home-based settings. The potential cost savings versus nursing home care is an estimated $4,000 a month for this organization and its patients alone, CNBC reported.
The telehealth movement is an example of health informatics in action. This specialty IT field has a focus on both medicine and computer science that enables its practitioners to gain a keen understanding of the role technology plays in patient care.
Informatics professionals are called upon to select and/or develop and manage technology that enhances an organization’s ability to provide patient care. Informatics specialists are also in demand to train patients and health care professionals in the use of care-advancing remote technology.
As telehealth solutions continue to advance, the potential to provide precise care remotely is growing. For elderly who wish to remain independent, these solutions can save them money while enhancing their quality of life.