I am not sure what I think about the advent of telemedicine, but I know it is a change that is inevitable. With all the technological advances being made daily, there is simply no way that medicine via computer is not going to happen.
I fear that we will lose something in the transfer, hopefully we won’t lose the humanity. There is a nursing shortage. That is a fact. There is a physician shortage. That is another fact. If technology can allow more people to be cared for with fewer doctors and nurses, then it will happen. What I worry about is the actual hands on care that will be left up to the untrained or to the actual patient himself. That, to me, would be unacceptable and a great loss for nursing.
We live in an era of dramatic advances in health care.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
First, President Obama and others succeeded in passing a national health care reform bill that will make health care available to millions of people for the first time and will provide improved health care for millions of others.
Now, telemedicine — the next great reform — is beginning to be available and has the potential of making major advances in health care for everyone in the country.
According to the The Illinois Nurse publication, telemedicine has been defined as “the direct provision of clinical care via telecommunications — diagnosing, treating or following up with a patient at a distance.”
The American Medical Association’s Council on Medical Education and Medical Services has an expanded definition: “It is medical practice across distance via telecommunications and interactive video technology.”
In simpler terms, doctors and nurses can — without leaving their offices use the Internet, telephones, video technology and other means to keep in touch with their patients’ condition.
Another definition is “the use of telecommunications technology to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants.”
The benefits of telemedicine are clear: It keeps doctors and nurses in close touch with their patients’ illness and enables them to respond quickly when an illness becomes more serious.
In effect, a well-equipped telemedicine program enables doctors to give many more patients effective care.
“Telehealth” is the term preferred by the American Nurses Association because it is more inclusive. Like telemedicine, it is an umbrella term referring to all varieties of health care that make use of telecommunications.
Doctors and nurses can’t meet with every patient every day. As a result, care-givers are often unaware when a patient’s health suffers a serious decline. Telemedicine allows them to respond to changing conditions much more quickly.
According to The Illinois Nurse magazine, “A Kaiser Permanente study of telehealth nursing showed cost savings, positive health outcomes , and unexpectedly high patient satisfaction, especially in the elderly community. resulting from telehealth care.”
It is clear that doctors and nurses provide the best care if they can stay informed about any changes in their patients’ condition.
Telemedicine is a practical and effective way to do so and it is likely to bring about major improvements in the nation’s health care program.
Bill Boyne is a retired publisher and editor of the Post-Bulletin. His column appears weekly.
Related articles by Zemanta
- Telemedicine brings doctors to patients, across any distance (bendbulletin.com)
- Aging in Place – with a little help from telehealth (thielst.typepad.com)
- Telemedicine, telehealth, and telecare (medicineandtechnology.com)
- Telehealth: A solution for the future! (thielst.typepad.com)
- OTN Showcases Telemedicine Solutions at HIMSS10 (newswire.ca)
- InTouch Health Crosses 100,000 Clinical Sessions Performed Through Its Remote Presence Telemedicine Network (eon.businesswire.com)
- Doctors and nurses still nervous with Telemedicine (nenoblog.net)