Telehealth is becoming increasingly common in modern medicine due to its wide applicability and ease of use (Greenberg, 2010). Personally, I have observed the use of telehealth in the clinical setting on multiple occasions. The most common use of telehealth occurs when a patient simply contacts the clinical provider to ask for advice on an existing issue, but I have also observed patients that live in rural communities use telehealth for diagnosis and other clinical services.
Telehealth has the potential to improve the overall quality of patient care. It allows clinicians to contact a larger number of patients in a smaller time-frame, meaning that more attention can be given to patients who require face-to-face services. It also allows nurses to see more patients without having to travel, which can reduce stress (Jerant et al., 2003). Patient outcomes could also be improved when using telehealth, as patients who are not required to be seen in person for advice on a medical condition do not have to be seen for physical observations, thus reducing demand on the system (Peck, 2005). Patient satisfaction can also be improved duet to these factors – less stress on the nurse and the patient means that overall experiences are improved.
Telehealth can impact nursing practice. As noted above, it means that nurses can see more patients in less time due to the convenience, but it also means that nurses have to learn different skills. For example, nurses must learn to communicate, diagnose, and treat using only technology rather than the traditional skillset. This will have consequences on the nursing profession: perhaps specialized courses in telehealth to maintain quality, a greater patient load, and a need to engage with technology on a more frequent basis. Overall, however, telehealth has the potential to allow nurses to deal with the increasing demand on the healthcare system.
- Greenberg, M. Elizabeth. “The Domain of Telenursing: Issues and Prospects.” Nursing Economics 18.4 (2010): 220. Print.
- Jerant, Anthony F. et al. “A Randomized Trial of Telenursing to Reduce Hospitalization for Heart Failure: Patient-Centered Outcomes and Nursing Indicators.” Home health care services quarterly 22.1 (2003): 1–20. Print.
- Peck, Amy. “Changing the Face of Standard Nursing Practice through Telehealth and Telenursing.” Nursing administration quarterly 29.4 (2005): 339–343. Print.