Telemedicine uses mobile apps, video conferencing software, wireless devices, email, and other forms of communication to improve a patient’s access to care. Because patients don’t need to leave their homes to consult with their healthcare providers, telemedicine can be useful with senior patients who have limited mobility or transportation.
Today many providers are using the following modalities to care for older patients and manage their chronic conditions:
Sometimes referred to as synchronous video, this type of video conferencing takes place in real-time between a patient and a healthcare provider. Software such as Skype or Zoom is used for primary care, follow-up visits, prescription management, chronic illness assessments, and psychotherapy sessions. This type of technology is often found in senior homes and assisted living facilities.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote patient monitoring (RPM) has become another popular form of telemedicine for telehealth and older adults. This involves collecting medical data directly from the patient or tracking a patient's vital signs from a distance. The data is then relayed to a nurse, physician, or caregiver. Remote patient monitoring is especially valuable with high-risk patients such as those with a history of stroke or heart disease. It's also effective for patients who recently suffered a fall or are newly home from the hospital.
Remote patient monitoring is also ideal for assessing and treating a multitude of chronic health conditions. It can help remind diabetes patients to track their glucose levels and send the information to their physician. Elderly patients who live alone or in assisted living facilities may be checked on as well.
An asynchronous video is different from synchronous video as it provides a patient's recorded health history through the electronic communications system. The healthcare provider can properly diagnose or treat patients outside of the office at a time and place that's convenient for them. This type of telemedicine is often used among physicians, nurse care practitioners, radiologists, and specialists for patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Mobile Health Services
Mobile health uses smartphones, tablets, and other wireless services. This include electronic health records, software applications, and healthcare apps. While they can help educate patients about preventative health care services, mobile health resources can also manage chronic health problems, prevent epidemic outbreaks, and help providers track other conditions.
Getting a Second Opinion Online
Second Opinion telemedicine solutions makes it easier for patients to get a second opinion without visiting another physician's office. Interactive video conferencing and software helps provide clinical patient data; the physician can check vital signs thanks to HD medical video scopes and electronic stethoscopes. The patient's healthcare information is stored safely in an online portal that provides secure access to remote healthcare providers.
While telehealth clinics originally became popular in rural areas of the United States, today many now focus on older patients who live on their own or in senior residential areas.
The growth of mobile devices and wireless technology has accompanied the growth in our population over 65. Together these two dynamics can make telemedicine a valuable part of everyday care for the geriatric population.