4 Cautions to be Aware of Before Using Telehealth

Telehealth is quickly revolutionizing healthcare, as it has learned to adapt and provide increased remote services to those who are unable to access them in person for a variety of reasons. The innovative service ensures continued access to medical care for home or bed-bound patients, from the comfort of their homes.

4 Cautions to be Aware of Before Using Telehealth

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While telehealth has proven itself to be a valuable technology as healthcare becomes digitized, there are some concerns about its potential pitfalls.

Unfamiliarity With the Provider

Since telehealth services usually match a user to any regional or online doctor available, patients do not have the same relationship with the matched doctor as they do with their personal family practitioner. Patients may even be reluctant in disclosing all of the necessary information for the provider to diagnose the health issue. Ultimately, as telehealth becomes more competitive and prevalent, users will increasingly be able to communicate with doctors and nurses with whom they have had previous interactions.

Lack of Patient Records

The absence of a trusted patient-doctor relationship also creates obstacles for the doctor trying to diagnose the patient via telehealth. Most diagnoses are, as a result, communicated verbally or visually, instead of tangibly, hindering the doctor's capacity to ensure the most accurate analysis. Furthermore, because the patient is new to the doctor, there is inadequate data available, including pre-existing conditions. This requires spending quite some time during the teleconference to attain the background information necessary to give a proper diagnosis. Reliable data-driven services must be created or augmented to be able to collect all necessary patient information and transmit securely and rapidly to the matched doctor.

Regulatory Challenges

In any situation where patient data is concerned, the importance of regulation becomes critical. Currently, there are clear risks of data breaches due to the lack of regulatory policies standardized telehealth practices. This concern makes the public suspicious of using telehealth. As a result, the adoption of this service is not as widespread as it should be, revealing issues that must be addressed by health authorities in order to establish standards that govern its use.

Technology Out-Innovates Health

There is a disconnect between time periods in technology and health. Mainstream technology can very quickly evolve and adapt to required changes in response to a large crisis. In contrast, telehealth, as a newer technology, is forced to play catch-up when its infrastructure should be fully established and proven. As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic provided real-time front line experience driving the need to expeditiously develop standards, protections and policy in telehealth.