I am doing my assignment on telemonitoring of patients with chronic disease.
I thought it would be an important start to make sense of the jargon. I understand telehealth to be health care being delivered or monitored remotely and requires the patient and provider. By this definition, telehealth could simply be a patient consulting with their GP over the phone, an idea that seems convenient for rural and remote settings where getting to a doctor may prove difficult.
From that, telemonitoring could be considered as part of telehealth- but focused on the remote monitoring of the patient. Again, this could be simply a phone call to monitor status, or could use new medical technology to read, record and remotely monitor the patient. This will be my focus, particularly in monitoring patients with chronic disease.
I've had a scan of the various products available to do this and here are some examples
There are many potential ways this could help improve health care.
Firstly, it can help reach rural patients. As observed around the world and in NZ, rural areas do not have the same level of access to medical care because there is a shortage of a medical workforce in there areas (Goodyear-Smith & Janes, 2005). Telehealth could be the answer to combat the inequalities between rural and urban.
Importantly, the literature suggests that the use of telemonitoring for heart conditions have been found to be associated with improved health outcomes such as hospitalisation and readmission, which indicates reduces morbidity. There are also potential benefits for cost effectiveness (Louis et al, 2003).
Goodyear-Smith, F & Janes, R. (2005). New Zealand Rural primary health workforce in 2005: More than just a doctor shortage. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 16, 40-46
Louis, A., Turner, T., Gretton, M., Baksh, A., & Clefland, J. (2003). A systematic review of telemonitoring for the management of heart failure. The European Journal of Heart Failure, 5(5), 583-590
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