Telehealth was the finger in the dyke during the pandemic panic, but its use catalyzed patients’ acceptance of virtual care. In the future, it should remain an integral part of healthcare delivery.
Reliable broadband connectivity is critical for telehealth. Also, avoiding incentives pushing telehealth utilization without a clear connection to value and substitution is essential.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
Telehealth is a term used to describe various telecommunication technologies and tactics that offer remote access to healthcare services. This includes virtual health visits, remote monitoring, reminders, and education.
Interactive telehealth enables physicians and patients to communicate in real-time using phones or videoconferencing software that complies with HIPAA regulations. It can also include remote patient monitoring (telemonitoring), which collects data such as a person’s temperature and heart rate.
ML uses artificial intelligence to identify patterns and predict trends. It can help detect anomalies that could be signs of a problem, such as an increase in temperature. It can also be used for symptom detection, adherence, and environmental monitoring.
Telehealth comprises various healthcare services, such as virtual doctor visits, remote monitoring, patient education and support, reminders, interventions, diagnostics, and more. It was a significant healthcare tool during the COVID-19 pandemic.
ML can help address the shortage of healthcare staff by automating and streamlining many tasks. It also provides decision-making support for physicians by analyzing vast quantities of patient data, which results in more accurate diagnoses and better patient outcomes.
One example is an AI platform that sends notifications to doctors when patients are experiencing severe symptoms like a fever or headache. This allows them to respond faster, thus saving time and resources.
Telehealth enables patients to connect with their healthcare providers when in-person visits are unnecessary or impossible. It’s also a convenient, affordable, and secure way to improve the quality of care that can help to ensure better health outcomes.
Companies have created a button people can press in an emergency so they don’t have to call their doctor or nurse. Telehealth also allows physicians to check in on their patients at home and even monitor their sleep patterns so they can make sure they are recovering well from surgery or a procedure.
However, high installation costs and the need for adequate infrastructure are hindering telehealth adoption in some countries. These challenges could be addressed with the help of new technologies and the right partnerships.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP)
While telehealth is growing exponentially, industry experts in the field of telehealth, like Mark Hirschhorn still face several challenges. One of the most significant is how to define telehealth.
This is especially important for telehealth providers, who must provide consumers with clear and consistent information.
Another issue is how to integrate telehealth into the healthcare system. The industry’s goal should be to expand patient access to medical services, which means reaching people who live in rural areas or have limited provider availability. However, if the technology is not implemented correctly, it may lead to further health disparities. It is crucial to create a framework that defines the appropriate use of telehealth in the healthcare industry.
Augmented Reality (AR)
The augmented reality (AR) technology in sci-fi movies is becoming a reality. AR is already used in various applications, from retail to the military.
In a business environment, AR can display prompts over a worker’s view to guide them through a process. This saves time and allows workers to follow instructions without stopping what they are doing to look at a manual or communicate with peers offsite.
AR can be delivered on mobile phones, head-mounted gear, smart glasses, and web-based devices. It is also used in medical procedures, like helping doctors find veins during blood draws and projecting 3D brains to help with surgeries (AccuVein, 2020). It can even be seen on the helmet visor of military fighter pilots.
Virtual Reality (VR)
VR is an immersive experience that lets users see, hear, and interact with a simulated 3D environment. This technology can be used in various industries, such as healthcare, workforce development, and manufacturing.
For example, VR can help train firefighters and other professionals to deal with risky situations. It can also allow medical students to practice on a simulated model of a pregnant woman giving birth or make split-second decisions in real-life emergency scenarios without endangering their patients.
Despite its limitations in battery power and fatigue for some users, VR shows excellent promise as a tool to engage multiple senses to simulate reality. It will continue to evolve with newer and more fashionable headsets.