Telemedicine

Definition:

the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by means of telecommunications technology.

Advantages:

  1. convenient
  2. less time in the waiting room
  3. cost
  4. privacy
  5. Expedited transmission of MRI's or X-rays for a second opinion

Disadvantages:

  1. electronic glitches
  2. inadequate assessment
  3. doctor not physically there
  4. Physician resistance
  5. Low quality of health information records

examples:

  1. Through a program at Boston-based Partners Healthcare, more than 3,000 congestive heart failure patients used at-home monitoring devices to send updates of their weight, blood pressure and other metrics to Partners. Clinical decision support software then helped identify the patients that needed interventions. The program allowed a panel of three or four nurses to provide care for 250 patients, and ultimately reduced readmission among the participating patient population by 44 % while generating cost savings of more than $10 million.
  2. A four-year program run by the Veterans Health Administration combined remote patient monitoring, health information and disease management technology to improve care for patients with six chronic conditions ranging from depression to diabetes. In addition to high patient satisfaction scores, the program also achieved a 25 percent drop in bed-days of care and a 19 % reduction in hospital admissions as compared to traditional care.

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