Connected health is becoming more commonly understood by health professionals and patients. Some elements, such as panic buttons for elderly people living alone, are commonplace while others, such as remote monitoring, are not yet widely used.
Self management + Care Coordination + Patient Monitoring
Telehealth uses technology to provide services that help in the management of long-term health conditions.
Telehealth works by monitoring a patient’s vital signs and transmitting the data to a monitoring centre or a healthcare professional. The data is monitored against levels set by the patient’s clinician. Issues are addressed before they become critical.
Telehealth services are suitable for patients who find it difficult to manage their long-term health conditions. These patients benefit from frequent interaction with the healthcare professionals at the monitoring centre. This can help them to manage their own care more effectively. When their self-care improves, they may be offered other services. These services can help them continue to manage their conditions effectively.
Telecare makes it possible for individuals to live independently at home. Telecare equipment includes a range of sensors, detectors, monitors and alarms tailored to individual need. The equipment feeds information to a monitoring centre. If the information shows that there is cause for concern about the safety of the patient, escalations are initiated. This service gives vulnerable individuals a sense of security. It is effective in ensuring that help is summoned rapidly when needed.
Telecoaching is a clinical interaction that takes place by telephone or over the internet. It can be offered after discharge from acute care to help stabilise a patient, so that readmission is less likely to be needed. It can also be used to provide support to a patient in carrying out a care plan. Educational materials can be delivered electronically to patients as a follow-up to telecoaching sessions.
Care plans are typically designed by a GP. A care coordination service encourages patients to take ownership of their care plan. Health professionals provide support where necessary to ensure that patients follow the plan.
Professionals work across sectors as a team with common goals and resources. Together, they deliver a coordinated response to each individual’s care requirements.
Risk stratification tools are used to identify patients who are suitable candidates for telehealth care.
A telehealth approach to patient care has been shown to improve health self-management. Patients are given the opportunity to learn more about their disease. As disease knowledge increases, patients tend to adopt healthy behaviours.
Confidence with exacerbations:
Patients become expert in their conditions. Patients are then able to cope with exacerbations confidently without requiring a visit to a healthcare professional or a hospital admission.
Patient decision process:
Aids are available to assist the clinician with the process of making decisions about the patient.