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4 Ways Telemedicine Is Transforming Healthcare

Telemedicine is a new healthcare service delivery model that leverages technology and focuses on patient outcomes. Patients are connected in new and innovative ways, such as through sensors on wearable devices. New insights about the human body are driving personalized medicine. Physicians are better equipped to diagnose and treat an aging population. Fewer medical errors mean better quality of life and fewer lives lost.

Florida telemedicine is developing beyond the ability of physicians to stay connected to their patients; it is offering entirely new ways of delivering healthcare. Today, the definition of telemedicine has expanded beyond telephone and video communications. Telemedicine of today may include apps, artificial intelligence (AI), and chatbots, along with other technologies.

Telemedicine today is broadening the value and relevance of Florida medical resources to improve the health of our population, reduce costs, increase provider satisfaction and enhance the patient experience.

  1. Provider-to-patient

Telehealth solutions that are direct to the patient are revolutionizing the way healthcare is delivered.  Examples include:

  • At-home monitoring devices that send updates of weight, blood pressure and other metrics to healthcare providers.
  • Remote patient monitoring, health informatics and disease management technology designed to improve care to patients with specific chronic conditions, such as depression to diabetes.
  • Doctors are able to review images and patient information that is uploaded and sent over a secure server by referring physicians and are able to treat certain conditions without seeing every patient in person.
  • Tele-ICU technology that supports intensive care unit beds, allowing internists to treat patients remotely, resulting in a decrease of mortality, a reduction in the length of ICU hospital stay and reduction in the cost of care.
  • A wireless pill bottle that reminds patients to take their medicine, thus increasing adherence to their prescription.
  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)

Florida telemedicine is about more than telecommunications between a patient and their healthcare providers. Workflow solutions that use AI are now built into most telehealth apps. These apps are able to guide patients through a series of questions to provide the app with data and some can now interpret those responses. By the time the patient meets with the healthcare provider, a tremendous amount of basic data has been collected and the most pertinent information has been gleaned. Most healthcare professionals agree that, while healthcare will most likely never be “self-service”, AI offers increased efficiency and focused interaction with the healthcare professional and is a trend that will continue in the future.

  1. Healthcare provider collaboration

Another emerging use of telemedicine is medical collaboration. Telemedicine is enhancing communication between physicians, nursing staff, specialists and other healthcare providers. Physicians are able to access expertise beyond their own, reducing costs and improving efficiency. It operates in the cloud, using smartphones, laptops, tablets and other devices to interact. Medical collaboration uses video, texting, phone calls and email.

  1. Telehealth spaces

Another area of emerging Florida telemedicine technology is the design and configuration of spaces that enable healthcare professionals to access technology in a variety of environments, including a patient’s home, nursing homes, hospitals, physician offices, urgent care clinics and other places. Spaces that are configured for telemedicine should include placement of secure cables and other necessary equipment, such as high-resolution cameras, sensors, speakers, monitors. The basic concept is the design of spaces that will be conducive to telemedical needs for a patient without forcing them to be transported when they need care. These types of technological enhancements allow practitioners, patients and the patients’ family members to interact, enhancing communication between all parties interested in the patient’s care. In the future, expect a secure health network to be installed in many homes, just like home security systems and smart home systems are available today.

Many experts view telehealth as a disruptive technology, fundamentally changing the way healthcare is delivered. These technologies have the potential for improving access to care, increasing the quality of care provided, and reducing the cost of healthcare. However, telemedicine brings with it privacy and security risks. Sensitive data that is transmitted via the internet creates privacy risks. This information could be accessed by the app or device manufacturer or other cyber hackers, who would have access to potentially sensitive data. HIPAA and other laws require that sensitive data be encrypted and subject to other safeguards. Many patients may not have these types of security safeguards in place.

To help mitigate cyber security risks, healthcare providers need to ensure patients understand the privacy and security risks they undertake when engaging with telemedical technology. Remote monitoring devices should be given in person to confirm the identity of the user and healthcare IT departments should work with vendors to ensure privacy and security regulation compliance.

Contact the experts at Lanier Upshaw, Inc. to learn more about cybersecurity risks and protections as technology continues to advance and impact every area of our modern lives. We’d love to hear from you!