Making the virtual health visit a reality
Technological improvements in medicine promise better care for patients and more efficiency for healthcare providers. But not all countries are quick to adapt and adopt advancements, finds Philips's Future Health Index 2019 at URL https://www.usa.philips.com/c-dam/corporate/newscenter/global/future-health-index/fhi2019/fhi-2019-report-united-states.pdf. The report finds that most countries - including the United States - are not harnessing the full potential of digital health technologies. Across the 15 countries surveyed, one particular advancement was the furthest behind in terms of widespread adoption: Telehealth.
What is Telehealth? Telehealth connects patients and health care providers through videoconferencing, remote monitoring, electronic consults and wireless communications.
Why Is Telehealth An Important Tool? By increasing access to physicians and specialists, telehealth helps ensure individuals receive appropriate care quickly, regardless of geopolitical boundaries. Well-designed telehealth systems can improve health care access and outcomes, particularly for chronic disease treatment and for vulnerable groups.
Not only do they reduce demands on crowded facilities, but they also create cost savings and make the health sector more resilient, according to The World Health Organization at URL https://www.who.int/sustainable-development/health-sector/strategies/telehealth/en/ .
Plus, healthcare professionals who use technologies like digital health records and telehealth see higher job satisfaction .
In the United States, telehealth has yet to become a common part of healthcare professionals' day-to-day work. 54% of American healthcare professionals say they do not use any form of telehealth in their practice. One in three Americans don't feel like they have access or availability to see a healthcare professional when needed.
Among healthcare professionals and patients, the U.S. trails other countries in telehealth adoption. Individuals in China are among the most likely to say that they prefer a consultation with their doctor remotely via a digital channel for non-urgent care.
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