Reflect on your experience with using telemedicine. (If you have not used telemedicine discuss the benefits and how it can improve patient outcomes.) How did telemedicine change the access of care to the patient being cared for?
Medicare Fact Sheet:
Length: A minimum of 275 words, not including references
Citations: At least 2 high-level scholarly reference in APA from within the last 5 years.
Telemedicine is increasingly becoming familiar in many healthcare settings. Integrating information technology in healthcare delivery can significantly improve healthcare delivery, access, and care outcomes. To start with, telemedicine has improved access to care, especially among rural and underserved populations, by bridging the geographical barrier to care access. It has also increased access to specialized care, thus better care of chronic illnesses as consumers of healthcare services can receive a wider range of services from their doctors without physical visit to healthcare facilities (Snyder & Kerns, 2021).
Telemedicine has facilitated improved patient participation in their care planning and implementation, through the regular exchange of information with their doctors, without traveling to the healthcare facility. This has, in turn, facilitated better care outcomes. Furthermore, telemedicine has improved efficiency in healthcare facilities, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic, during which hospitals are faced with increased congestion. Through telemedicine, providers can offer healthcare services to patients locked out of hospitals due to congestion remotely. In addition, telemedicine has boosted providers’ efforts to curb the spread of the virus by serving patients remotely, thus ensuring they don’t interact with COVID 19 patients admitted to healthcare facilities for critical care (Snyder & Kerns, 2021).
Telemedicine has the potential to reduce the cost of care in various ways. Through telemedicine appointments, the unused capacity that goes to waste is minimized, as providers attend to as many patients as possible, thus, decreasing system costs. Besides, remote analysis services allow healthcare specialists to work as a pooled resource. As a result, a wide patient population is attended to by a few health specialists. It also improved outcomes by allowing care continuation after hospital discharge, where providers can continue monitoring patients through telemedicine.
Telemedicine has especially improved care outcomes for people who need routine care and vulnerable populations that need to be kept at home, especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. However, telemedicine has introduced several challenges to nursing practitioners, regarding limited physical examination, security breaches, regulatory and industry barriers (Balestra, 2018). Despite the disadvantages, the benefits of telemedicine are undeniable. Therefore, providers need to familiarize themselves with laws governing telemedicine in their practice state and ensure compliance with patient privacy and security requirements during telemedicine implementation.
Balestra, M. (2018). Telehealth and legal implications for nurse practitioners. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 14(1), 33-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2017.10.003
Snyder, E. F., & Kerns, L. (2021). Telehealth Billing for Nurse Practitioners During COVID-19: Policy Updates. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 17(3), 258-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2020.11.015