Telehealth Nursing Explained
Historically, telehealth nursing was when healthcare guidance and updates are provided via a phone call. Nowadays, with the advent of communication technology and solutions including computers, audio and visual accessories along with telephones, there is a greater chance to avail of telehealth nursing services.
A typical example of this service would be when a nurse provided care or an update to a patient via a phone call or platforms such a Skype or WhatsApp to a remotely located patient. This can be conducted with a patient in a remote location or one situated in an area that does not have sufficient healthcare treatment options located nearby.
Using this technology, nurses can provide telehealth services to any patient who has a connection to the Internet. It is an invaluable tool for supporting a patient suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease as the nurse can check-in at regular points in time to record the patient’s progress and provide much-needed support.
Compliance Requirements for Telehealth Nursing
At present there are no legal obligations in relation to licensing of telehealth services and nurses that practice telehealth may be in a position where they must seek the required authorization across a range of legislative regions to be allowed to use this service. The main stipulation is that the person providing the telehealth nursing must be in possession of a nursing license that complies with federal regulations.
Other standards that must be taken into account include:
- Any health, safety and quality assurance requirements – such as those related to the The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nurses and the American Nurses Association provisions on telehealth nursing care.
- International nursing standards on telehealth: The International Council of Nursing sets standards for nurses in about 130 countries.
- HIPAA requirements: Nurses who conduct meetings using telehealth means must comply with HIPAA confidentiality requirements.
Benefits of Telehealth Nursing
- Improved Productivity: Nurses can provide care to more patients in less time as there is little time spent on travelling.
- Remote Monitoring: Technology can be used to check in on any patients, no matter what age they are.
- Patient Satisfaction: Most patients prefer remote appointments over physical meetings. This is possible using telehealth nursing.
- Less Expensive Treatment: Travel costs are dispensed of with a virtual meeting and, on average, telehealth appointments cost less per patient
Telehealth Nursing Issues
Even though there are numerous benefits to conducting telehealth nursing appointments there are some potential flaws with this style of treatment. These include:
- Poor or no Internet access
- Lack of familiarity with modern communication devices
- Poor, old or incompatible technology
- Missed appointments due to misconfigured devices
- Privacy concerns due to lack of privacy in some situations.
Despite there being some buried to optimum delivery, telehealth nursing is an efficient, attractive and low cost way of providing top class healthcare in a virtual setting. Along with improving the overall patient experience and access it can add much more convenience to the provision of healthcare in today’s world.