Telehealth Overview and its Role in Healthcare
Healthcare providers routinely play a leading and often prominent role in the operationalization of schemes geared towards overcoming emerging barriers to healthcare delivery. Their participation in complex evidence-based practice (EBP programs is now credited for the extensive assimilation of information technology (IT) systems in healthcare and the adoption of telecommunication technologies such as telehealth. Within the past decade, telehealth has developed gradually as a valuable healthcare tool due to its convenience and potential to improve access to high-quality and affordable care. Today, telehealth covers key medical advances such as the Integrated Delivery Remote ICU Monitoring System (IDS) and Online Neonatal Integrated Delivery Intensive Care Units (NICU) Systems that currently function as a multifaceted component of the wider healthcare system (Muzammil, 2020). Telehealth aims to improve access to data, services, and administrative activities to boost health-related efficiency.
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Telehealth’s Potential for Improving Access to Care and Promoting Patient Safety and Quality
Telehealth is, typically, touted as one of the most influential healthcare innovations yet due to its potential to promote patient safety, improve access to high-quality care, and an increased likelihood of better care outcome. Its application targets persistent healthcare delivery challenges such as the disproportional geographic distribution of medical resources, high cost of care, and insufficient medical resources. Combining telehealth with computer networking has made it possible for healthcare experts to provide vital medical care to patients in remote regions and well over distant geographic locations.
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Furthermore, telehealth also promotes patient safety through their participation in care plans by means of real-time high-definition video and audio correspondence and monitoring. Patients can also access essential healthcare services through a combination of remote diagnostic consultations, referrals, and advice on home-based care. According to Moghbeli & Langarizadeh (2020), telehealth’s potential for improving healthcare is apparent today; as nation-states contend with the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth has made it possible thousands of patients to access healthcare services; ultimately collecting beneficial health promotion advice on early presenting signs associated with the virus and effective preventative strategies while, all the while, minimizing the risk of transmission.
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Ethical and Legal Implications of incorporating Telehealth
Telehealth is fundamentally based on the exchange of patient’s private data between with respective healthcare providers through intricate electronic systems of communication. However, detractors of this groundbreaking innovation express serious concerns over the ethical and legal implications of telehealth integration in the long run. While physicians are ethically obligated to foster face-to-face clinical meetings with patients due to its time-honored therapeutic value, telehealth technology severely precludes this classic patient-physician relationship.
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This may, eventually, have far-reaching healthcare consequences since these modalities are normally linked to patient satisfaction and improved care outcomes. Furthermore, telehealth’s electronic system of communication also raises serious privacy concerns. Computer network encryption systems are fallible and prone to security breaches; during which patient’s personal health records may be compromised. Telehealth is also predisposed to new forms of physician malpractice such as “telenegligence” and a high likelihood errors associated with miscommunication (Kluge, 2020). This may eventually render physicians and hospital administrators legally liable in case of a telehealth-related adverse medical event.
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Role of Nurse Informaticist in Telehealth
Nurse informaticists play an essential role in telehealth due to an elevated demand in the effective management of healthcare data. For instance, nurse practitioners (NPs) and physicians are expected to partner with nurse informaticists to guarantee precise cataloguing of patient charts in a care facility’s electronic health record (EHR) database. For that reason, they ensure patients are routinely monitored to evaluate their compliance to care plans while also conduct regular follow-ups. Moreover, a nurse informaticist’s grasp of computer science, information technology (IT) and nursing practice often means that they are better placed to offer technical support to healthcare providers and clients alike (Bashir & Bastola, 2018). Nurse informaticists are also crucial as a conduit for the dissemination of telehealth and the training of fellow nurses on the use of telehealth technology.
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Role of Workflow Analysis, Human Factors, and User-Centered Design Concepts in Telehealth
Workflow analysis, human factors, and user-centered design concepts are all central to telehealth and its application. Workflow analysis is central to the success of telehealth services due to its bearing on sound scheduling systems and the documentation of specific healthcare experts expected to provide clinical care specific clients. Clinical staff can, therefore, identify target clients beforehand, complete informed consent, and ultimately proceed with the systematic recording of patient healthcare data based on observations. Human factors (HFs) influence the specific telehealth design adopted by a healthcare provider. They provide a detailed catalogue of client needs, behavior, and communication style which then influences the design of telehealth applications. Similarly, user-centered designs (UCDs) propose frameworks for the implementation of customized telehealth systems (Pirtle et al., 2019). In the long run, UCDs are responsible for the development of user-friendly telehealth systems for clients and medical staff.