In 2021, we can do most things remotely. And medical care is no exception. However, the history of telehealth nursing goes back to the beginning of the 20th century, where a magazine cover showed a doctor diagnosing a patient by radio. Now, telehealth systems have gone to a completely new level, where doctors can monitor the patient’s vitals remotely with wearable biosensors, where patients can visit their dentists via a mobile app. Sound impressive? Let’s dive deeper into the magical world of telehealth nursing.
What is Telehealth Nursing: Its Main Types
Let’s begin with the telenursing definition. So, telehealth nursing is the process of delivering medical care remotely with the help of technology, mobile devices, tablets, computers, and different wearables. Because of COVID-19, during the first quarter of 2020, the number of telehealth visits increased by 50%, with a growing number of people being managed at home with no need for an in-person appointment.
The term ‘telehealth nursing’ is wide enough as it consists of different types. Here are the main types:
- Remote patient monitoring
- Remote monitoring helps patients recover in an outpatient setting with the help of special technology that automatically transmits information about patient medical data to the care team.
Remote patient monitoring technology is often used for hypertension management, medication management, weight management, pulmonology management, glucose monitoring, etc. The special remote patient monitoring devices (blood pressure, glucose, and heart rate monitors, pulse oximeter, smart scale, and patient wearables) help track the progression of these diseases and manage them more effectively.
Real-time telemedicine includes two-way communications (between the provider and patient via video conferencing and phone consultations. With the help of real-time medicine, doctors can perform basic visual examinations, psychiatric evaluations, and even ophthalmic tests. The main benefits of real-time telemedicine include access to doctors at any time, remote real-time monitoring, smart notifications, and alerts that transmit patient requests to the doctor immediately.
With the help of store-and-forward telemedicine, medical data such as medical imaging, test results, bio-signals can be acquired, transmitted, and processed across long distances. Store-and-forward telemedicine includes X-rays, MRIs, photos, patient data, video-exam clips, etc. that aid in diagnosis and medical consultations when real-time contact is impossible. The health professional gathers all this information via a computer or mobile device. In comparison with a real-time visit, store-and-forward services give access to data after it has been collected. This technology is often used in radiology, pathology, dermatology, and ophthalmology.
Medical imaging involves creating images of various parts of the human body for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Examples of medical imaging include projection radiography, fluoroscopy, MRI scanning, thermography techniques, elastography, etc.
“Now is the best time to invest in custom software development solutions for your medical organization. It will help you attract more patients with an easier booking process and online consultations and stand out among your competitors”
— Vlad Medvedovsky, CEO & Founder at Proxet.
Main Telenursing Benefits for Better Patient Treatment
So what are the main benefits of telenursing? First of all, it’s convenient, as it saves both time and money, reducing the necessity to travel, hire office staff and space, and purchase equipment. The other perks that improve the healthcare system include:
Better Bed Allocation
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Telenursing reduces readmissions, as patients can be monitored in pilot telehealth programs. For example, Dictumhealth is a fully integrated telehealth platform that supports patients from incident, hospital, rehab, and home recovery. The integration of videoconferencing and the simultaneous streaming of vital signs, cardiopulmonary data, and medical images create a Virtual Exam Room (VER) to diagnose and treat patients remotely. It helps to improve bed allocation, especially during the COVID-19 period.
“It’s really a question of, can we provide these devices to patients directly so that we can connect the physician and the patient virtually, and allow the [physicians] to keep providing excellent care during this time”
— Connor Landgraf, Co-Founder & CEO at Eko, a digital medical device and intelligence company.
More Personalized Treatment
Have you ever thought of having a personal virtual nursing assistant? An AI-powered virtual nursing assistant provides a more personalized experience for patients. It identifies illness based on symptoms, monitors health status, schedules doctor’s appointments, and prevents chronic diseases from getting worse.
For example, Careangel is the world's first AI and voice-powered virtual nurse assistant that provides personalized, conversational health monitoring and management in one mobile app.
“We are applying AI to healthcare not to replace the human touch, but to augment and magnify the way we care. Make care more effective, more efficient, safer, and more compassionate”
— Wolf Shlagman, Founder and CEO at Care Angel
Medical Access for People in Rural Areas
Telemedicine can also expand care in remote regions.
“Before the pandemic hit, rural hospitals were struggling financially and closing at a greater rate than ever before. The adoption of telehealth technology has given a new lease on life to the rural hospital itself.”
— Neeraj Puro, Assistant Professor of Health Administration at Florida Atlantic University.
Rural hospitals can connect with the nearest urban hospital and their physicians for specialized services. Patients can skip the long drive to their nearest urban or even their local hospital, receiving care at home. By utilizing telemedicine, rural hospitals can avoid the shortage of providers, use pharmacy delivery, and access resident physicians for some urgent conditions.
What are the Responsibilities of a Telephone Triage Nurse
Telephone triage nurses are registered nurses who provide patient care via telehealth services. They work in a nursing agency and speak with their patients via phone, assess their symptoms, keep track of their health conditions, and consult with physicians if necessary.
The usual workflow of a telephone triage nurse looks like this:
- Gather information about the patient, keeping in mind red flag words
- Assess the patient condition and note them in special telephone triage protocols
- Recommend an appropriate level of care
- Refer them to local doctors in their area if necessary
To become a telephone triage nurse, you need to earn your nursing degree or diploma and pass the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Triage nurses should have a special telehealth nursing certification provided by the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing. To take the examination, you must also have a minimum of 2,000 hours of nursing experience in a clinical setting.
Main Elements of Telehealth Systems
To implement telehealth in your organization, you need access to the special telehealth systems with an Internet connection and personal computer, or a telephone. Let’s review the main contact points:
- Telehealth kiosks
- Webcams and digital cameras
- Telehealth stations and carts
- Telehealth platforms
- Mobile medical devices
Before choosing a telehealth system, consider the following factors:
- How much set-up, staff training, and implementation will be required to run the system
- What type of telehealth solution do you need?
- What is your purpose in using telehealth systems?
If you need help in choosing systems for telehealth nursing, Proxet will be happy to help. We’ve developed many solutions for our clients in the healthcare industry, such as a Medical Research Portal with more than 10,000 users and on-demand healthcare analytics software.
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