Telehealth is all about connections, that’s clear. Telehealth provides a connection between the patient and a provider who are located in different areas, and that’s the primary use. But the connectivity can also reach beyond patient and provider to the patient’s family if they are in a distant location. Or sometimes telehealth can help ease concerns of family members of very ill patients who need specialty care. Here are a few examples of how telehealth has helped with the second kind of connection:
A baby is born and her father is in the military, stationed in a combat zone in Afghanistan. Using telehealth equipment, the hospital staff was able to make a connection between the father and his new family back in the states. The proud papa now knows everything is good because he’s seen the family with his own eyes
A child is diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder and the physician briefs the family on the condition and treatment options. Mother and child are in the states and the father is stationed halfway around the world. The telehealth equipment helps ease the father’s mind and lets him know what is involved with the child’s condition
An elderly patient is hospitalized in Canada. She wants to see her family in Oregon. Telehealth capability allows for a video conference between the patient and family and lets everyone know what the situation is and share a loving moment
A caller reports that her mother is very ill and very frail. She needs to see a specialist, but the nearest provider is a several-hour drive away. The frailty of the patient would make a long car ride out and then back very difficult for her. An ambulance ride to the provider’s location would be extremely expensive and still trying for the patient. One of NRTRC’s members arranged to connect the patient and one of their specialists to the hospital where the patient was admitted, getting her the care she needed, saving difficult travel and easing the family’s minds
There’s a lot to telehealth and once you start looking beyond the patient-to-provider connection, you can see significant additional value in the process.
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