Telemedicine & Telehealth: How the Internet is Helping Healthcare Evolve

Young medical assistant talking by phone in clinic

Pediatrics on Demand is incredibly happy to announce that we are offering telemedicine services to our pediatric patients. Through telemedicine/telehealth, we’re able to provide medical care to pediatric patients who may not be able to visit our clinic in person. Even in the wake of COVID-19, our doctors are still available to provide the medical treatment your child requires. All you need is an internet connection and a mobile device! Keep reading to learn more about what goes into telehealth and telemedicine. If you’d like to experience the benefits of telemedicine first hand, then give us a call at (708) 424-0900 to speak with a provider. 

So What Exactly is Telehealth? 

There’s no denying that the internet and the digital landscape has transformed our world. As a matter of fact, it’s changed the way in which you stay in touch with your friends and family, the way in which you purchase goods, and most importantly—how you receive your health and medical care. Believe it or not, a variety of telehealth tools have become more and more available to help you manage your child’s health care and receive the services your child needs, in and outside of the clinic. We define telehealth and how it works to help you gain a better idea. 

Telehealth, as a term, refers to the use of digital information and communication in order to access health care services on a remote basis. By making use of computers and mobile devices, doctors can see and treat patients digitally. It may sound incredibly futuristic and sophisticated but, thanks to our modern technological advancements, it’s actually incredibly reliable and useful. By using the same devices you regularly use at home, your child’s doctor will be able to provide important healthcare services. 

The goals of telehealth include the following: 

  • Make health care accessible to people who live in isolated areas
  • Make services more readily available or convenient for people with limited mobility, modes of transportation, and time
  • Provide feasible access to medical specialists to connect with patients

Tools Used to Conduct Telehealth 

There are specific tools that make telehealth possible. We discuss the devices that comprise telehealth and how they enhance healthcare for patients, alike. 

Patient Portals

Most primary care clinics, by today’s standards, have online patient portals. These portals offer an alternative to email since emails tend to be an insecure means to communicate about confidential medical and patient information. A portal provides a more secure online tool by offering the following:

  • Efficient communication with a doctor or a nurse
  • Request prescription refills immediately
  • Review test results and summaries of previous visits
  • Schedule appointments or request appointment reminders. 

Virtual Appointments

More and more, doctors are offering patients with virtual appointments, especially if it’s harder for patients to come in and be seen in a clinic. Virtual appointments may be conducted via phone call, videoconferencing, or through other means of virtual communication. These appointments also enable to receive ongoing care from your doctor if an in-person visit isn’t necessarily required. 

Other virtual appointments include web-based “visits” with a doctor or nurse practitioner. These services are usually for patients with minor illnesses, similar to the services available at a walk-in clinic. Similarly, a nursing call center is staffed with nurses who use a question-and-answer format to provide advice for care at home. A nursing call center is not equipped to diagnose an illness or prescribe medications. 

Remote Monitoring

With telehealth, there are a variety of technologies that enable your doctor or health care provider to monitor your health remotely. These technologies include:

  • Web-based or mobile apps for uploading information, such as sugar level readings, to your doctor or health care team
  • Specialized devices that measure and wirelessly send information, such as vitals, blood glucose, or lung function
  • Wearable devices that automatically record and transmit information such as heart rate, gait, posture control, tremors, physical activity or sleep patterns
  • Home monitoring devices for older people or patients with dementia that detect changes in normal activities 

Personal Health Apps 

Many clinics have taken the initiative to create mobile or online applications to help consumers better organize their medical information in one place. These apps include features such as: 

  • Personal health information
  • Recorded vital signs
  • Caloric intake
  • Scheduled reminders for taking medicine
  • Recorded physical activity, such as your daily step count and heart rate 

Additionally, these apps provide features such as health tips, advice, and ways in which you can make healthy choices, without having to directly consult with a doctor. 

The Fate of Telehealth: What Is It Leading To?

Technology has the potential to improve the quality of health care and to make it accessible to more people as new devices are being created. Telehealth is constantly proving itself when it comes to providing opportunities to make health care more efficient, better coordinated, and closer to home. 

Research regarding telehealth is still relatively fresh, but it is definitely growing. For example, a 2016 review of studies found that both telephone-based support and telemonitoring of vital signs of people with heart failure reduced the risk of death and hospitalization for heart failure and improved quality of life. It’s as simple as a phone call or quick message that withhold the power to save lives and to prevent any further mishaps. 

Telehealth Available at Pediatrics On Demand 

The medical staff at Pediatrics On Demand makes it a priority to be able to provide healthcare, even during these unprecedented times where everyone is highly advised to stay at home as much as possible. Contact us today to learn more about how we can provide telehealth, no matter where you may be!