Esprit Health

Digital Health Technology

Digital Health Technology

When thinking about healthcare, most of us conjure up images of visits to the doctors surgery, clinic, or hospital. Whether it's for a routine check-up, lab tests, an outpatient procedure, or major surgery, the norm is for patients to take time off work and travel, sometimes long distances, to meet their doctor at a healthcare facility, which can often include a lengthy wait. But things are changing fast. Based on advances in information and communications technologies, medical professionals can now offer increasingly robust, remote, interactive services to consumers and patients from their home.

The terms used to describe these broadband-enabled interactions include telehealth, telemedicine, and telecare. "Telehealth" evolved from the word "telemedicine." "Telecare" is a similar term. All three of these words are often - but not always - used interchangeably. They can also have different meanings depending on which side of the Atlantic you're from and who you ask. And that's precisely why you should ask your doctor, insurance provider, nurse, or anyone who's part of your health and care universe:

What do you mean when you say ...

Telemedicine

Telemedicine

Telemedicine can be defined as using telecommunications technologies to support the delivery of all kinds of medical, diagnostic, and treatment-related services usually by doctors. For example, this includes conducting diagnostic tests, closely monitoring a patient's progress after treatment or therapy, and facilitating access to specialists that are not located in the same place as the patient.

Nurses

Telehealth

Telehealth is similar to telemedicine but includes a wider variety of remote healthcare services beyond the doctor-patient relationship. It often involves services provided by nurses, pharmacists, or carer providers, for example, those who help with patient health education, social support, medication adherence, and troubleshooting health issues for patients and their carer providers.

Telecare

Telecare

Telecare generally refers to technology that allows consumers to stay safe and independent in their own homes and whilst out and about. For example, telecare may include 24/7 remote activity monitoring and alarm systems in the home, sensors for remote monitoring of vital signs, GPS location tracking, digital medication reminders, and tools that connect consumers with family members or care providers.

Virtual Wards

Virtual Wards

An important addition to these telecare services is the concept of Virtual Wards. Hospitals are coming under increasing pressure as a result of pandemics, chronic health conditions, and the ageing population. Technology is now available that can monitor vital signs of post-operative patients either in care homes or in their own homes. This can enable early hospital discharge, avoidance of readmission, free-up hospital capacity, and substantially reduce hospital costs.

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