The current assignment focuses on the concept of Telehealth and its importance within the current rural scenario. Telehealth could be describes as the portable and accessible form of healthcare and could be easily delivered in remote places with the assistance of sophisticated systems and technologies. Therefore being a system analyst I will need to take into consideration a number of factors for the implementation of telehealth within the rural environment. For the current study we have focussed upon the problems, capabilities and the benefits of implementing advanced technologies in healthcare.
A number of problems are encountered in the implementation of telehealth within the rural health scenario. These could be divided into –administration insights, technical glitches, supportive infrastructure and sustainability reimbursements.
The lack of knowledge in the hospital authorities regarding the benefits of Telehealth systems often serves as barrier. As commented by Burch, Gray & Sharp (2017), the lack of actual information often results in the hospital authorities perceiving the installation of advanced systems and technologies as additional costs. Additionally, some of the physicians are of the view that the online platform does not provide sufficiently coverage in dealing with the patients. One of the most important issue highlighted in this regard are random internet disconnection. In this regard, the technical glitches often results in unfortunate halts amidst the ongoing interactive sessions within an attending doctor and a patient. As asserted by Bagayoko et al. (2014), the technical interface also comes along with issues such as data loss and security. Therefore, Telehealth has not yet been approved on a large scale basis and needs further promotion.
Some of the other forms of issues which are faced over here are lack of sufficient infrastructural support and dearth of sustainability reimbursements. The rural health system may not be adept to support the Telehealth requirements (Knight et al., 2016). There is a need for good computer systems along with strong internet connection. The lack of these may act as major hindrances in the incorporation of telehealth services.
Another issue which is faced in this regard is the non-availability of reimbursements in the form of fees paid by the patients for the usage of Telehealth services. The installation of Telehealth services within the rural scenario would mean that most of the services would need to be delivered at nominal prices which further affect the annual revenue collection. The dearth of revenue may impact the sustainability and maintenance of the services.
The Telehealth services are highly essential services and their capabilities could be measured in terms of the upper hand the implementation of such technologies could provide to the health assessment scenario. The Telehealth services allow for immediate solution to major health issues within much real time through its warm transfer protocol. In this respect, the patients would be first welcomed by a telehealth assisting telecaller on entering the virtual site. The call is then transferred through warm transfer facility to a nurse or general physician. On further assessment of the condition of the patient they are either provided with suitable medical intervention or referred to hospices. This is done by direct booking and therefore reduces much of the time of the patient spent in travelling to hospices, waiting in queues and making appointments.
The Telehealth services allow for the transfer of vital health related information of the patients in much real time. Therefore, the information shared over the cloud media could be further checked with specialists for getting accurate health assessments. The availability of such services reduces the anxiety in patients waiting for diagnosis to long term conditions. As commented by Lakenauth & Tang (2014), the online medium could also be used as a mode of educating the Patients which could help in removing he myths associated with certain health factors and issues.
There are ample benefits of the establishment of telehealth services within a rural setup. In this respect, the health services could be offered to the patients within the comfort of their homes through simple mobile phone devices. As commented by Coates & Hawley (2014), the burdens of travelling long distances often hinder people from availing the best in class health services. Thus, the Telehealth personnel are often sent to the homes of the patients with adequate system and support. This is done in order to provide services to the ones who are undergoing long term and incurable illnesses such as paralysis, diabetes, arthritis, etc. In this regard, the physical conditions of the patients make it difficult for them to travel to clinics and hospitals. Therefore, the door-step delivery of health services would always be a welcoming idea (Jørgensen, Hallenborg & Demazeau, 2016).
There are a number of benefits of the implementation of Telehealth services such as reduction of unnecessary hospital admissions. However, there are limitations such as lack of sufficient funds and support from the hospital administration can hinder the measurement outcomes greatly.
Bagayoko, C. O., Traoré, D., Thevoz, L., Diabaté, S., Pecoul, D., Niang, M., ... & Geissbuhler, A. (2014). Medical and economic benefits of telehealth in low-and middle-income countries: results of a study in four district hospitals in Mali. BMC health services research, 14(1), S9.
Burch, S., Gray, D., & Sharp, J. (2017). The power and potential of telehealth what health systems should know: proposed legislation in Congress offers the promise that the nation's healthcare policy will support the expansion of telehealth, allowing hospitals and health systems to fully realize the benefits of this important emerging approach to care. Healthcare Financial Management, 71(2), 46-50.
Coates, L., & Hawley, M. (2014). Understanding the operational, organisational and financial challenges in telehealth adoption through multi-disciplinary collaborative research. International Journal of Integrated Care, 14(8), pp15-25.
Jørgensen, D. B., Hallenborg, K., & Demazeau, Y. (2016, October). Extending Agent Based Telehealth Platform with Activities of Daily Living Reasoning Capabilities. In Healthcare Informatics (ICHI), 2016 IEEE International Conference on(pp. 168-176). IEEE.
Knight, P., Bonney, A., Teuss, G., Guppy, M., Lafferre, D., Mullan, J., & Barnett, S. (2016). Positive clinical outcomes are synergistic with positive educational outcomes when using telehealth consulting in general practice: a mixed-methods study. Journal of medical Internet research, 18(2), pp.55-62.
Lakenauth, G., & Tang, S. (2014, May). Benefits of Telehealth across different socio-economic communities. In Systems, Applications and Technology Conference (LISAT), 2014 IEEE Long Island (pp. 1-6). IEEE.
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