Telemedicine services can effectively be delivered to the patients by numerous means and the providers are required to comprehensively evaluate each one of them before zeroing in on a particular delivery method, considering a host of factors, including their patient demographics.
Amongst the most popular telemedicine services is the synchronous or live interactions, where the patients and their providers or two service providers engage in real-time communication.
As these interchanges occur in real-time, they facilitate sharing of information in an increasingly transparent manner and also encourage the patient to ask follow-up queries. It may also aid an indifferent patient to put faith in the provider as trust or its lack is a typical deterrent for the patient populations trying out telemedicine. The particular telemedicine process does not produce any time lag.
Store and Forward
Many providers utilize the asynchronous or store-and-forward method for telemedicine delivery, where vital information, such as photographic images, diagnostic tests, and videos, are stored first and then transmitted to a healthcare provider, commonly a specialist, later on.
The specialist examines the forwarded clinical data and then reverts. While the store-and-forward method limits the opportunity of asking queries because of the inherent time lag it produces, the particular telemedicine delivery method may streamline the operation as well for the very reason that it does not need to synchronize the schedules of all the participants involved in the process.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring is also another kind of telemedicine delivery method that is being widely leveraged these days, where the providers or patients, the former usually being the nurses, can input significant healthcare indicators and information, such as blood sugar levels, weight, or blood pressure, over an extended quantum of time.
This medical data will then be organized into a unified dataset and be evaluated by the healthcare team to trace any meaningful deviations or patterns. It can prove to be an indispensable methodology or tool for patients with chronic health conditions, such as congestive heart failure or type-two diabetes.
In an analogous way, the mobile healthcare system may be employed in the form of a go-to-delivery method for particular patients, where the affected individuals are required to use technology that is readily available for registering and keying in critical data. As the people are actively involved in inputting data, the greater are the odds of reporting errors by the patients themselves. Furthermore, there are a number of other risks that are also present in the mobile healthcare system.
The Bottom Line
The healthcare providers are increasingly exploring various means for integrating the aforementioned telemedicine delivery methods into a more coherent and effective package.
A hybrid consultation is purpose-designed to include all the benefits of both synchronous and asynchronous interactions.
While the hybrid consultation allows a specialist to usually accesses the complex diagnostics, which were completed earlier, it also permits the attending specialist to directly engage with the patients and/or their family members. According to the latest (2018) data provided by the Telehealth Resource Centers or TRC, these hybrid consultations can be most frequently found in specialties like cardiology and dermatology.
No matter which telemedicine service you choose, it is imperative to realize that the objective remains same in all the cases, that is, improving the health outcomes of patients.