Times are evolving in the healthcare industry. While office visits were once an individual’s only option for care, telehealth technology has made its way into the lives of patients across the globe, increasing healthcare affordability, accessibility, and demand.
But now that patients have access to healthcare on demand, what does that mean for travel nurses and allied health travelers? The more travelers can implement technology into their workspace, the more successful they’ll be. Here’s what travel nurses can expect from the rise of telehealth technology.
The rise of telehealth technology
The now infamous coronavirus pandemic threw a wrench in the world of healthcare. But from it, telehealth medicine gained its popularity.
Telehealth, or otherwise known as telemedicine, allows healthcare providers to care for patients without an in-person visit. Typically, telemedicine is performed online with internet access on a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It can be done via email, video, phone, or a combination thereof.
Not only does telemedicine connect patients to healthcare providers, but it also empowers them to monitor and improve their ongoing health issues from home. With health information at their fingertips, patients have the ability to send their health data directly to their provider. And vice versa—telehealth gives physicians, nurses, and allied health workers direct contact to the patient so they can be notified of:
- Appointment and/or medication reminders
- Suggestions for improving diet, mobility, or stress management
- Detailed at-home care instructions
- Friendly encouragement
The use of telehealth in nursing is growing and according to the American Nursing Association (ANA), many healthcare facilities are integrating telehealth services into patient care to help patients better monitor chronic conditions like heart failure, respiratory disease, and diabetes. Plus, recent ANA studies also show that 70 percent of patients surveyed are comfortable using text, email, and video to communicate with their healthcare providers.
Benefits of telehealth technology
Although telemedicine has existed for more than 40 years, it was the sudden rise of telehealth that revealed the benefits. For instance, telehealth improves a patient’s accessibility to healthcare, especially for the 20 percent of Americans living in rural areas.
“While there is an abundance of healthcare resources in the U.S., the feasibility of patients connecting to care remains an issue, especially for those who are underserved,” said Dr. Lisa Wilson. “Telemedicine can remove geographical barriers, so that those in rural areas without easy access to care can still get the services they need.”
Telehealth gives thousands of people healthcare and does so at a reduced cost to healthcare providers. In fact, a report done by the American Hospital Association (AHA) shows healthcare providers saved more than $2,700 per patient when using telehealth physical therapy after knee-replacement surgery. Because patients have the ability to call their doctors, nurses, and other care workers from the comfort of their own homes, telehealth allows for providers to see more patients in less amount of time. And it gives providers the opportunity to spend time with critical care patients who require in-person care.
“The great thing about technology and telehealth is the flexibility it offers to design services that work best for the work environment or an individual on a case-by-case basis,” said Dr. Lisa Wilson. “It’s important for both providers and patients to embrace telehealth because of its ease of use, its ability to improve outcomes, improve communication, and reduce costs.”
In addition to reduced costs and enhanced convenience, telehealth also increases the health outcome of patients. In fact, one study found that patients with chronic health issues who used telemedicine experienced fewer complications like fewer hospital admissions.
Telehealth in travel nursing
While the nursing profession is timeless, it’s also a constantly changing profession. And now telehealth has made its entrance into the world of travel nursing.
A career in travel nursing can take you all over the country, including rural areas with chronically underserved healthcare facilities where telehealth is a main source of healthcare for many. If you’re working with individuals who use telemedicine, you should also be well-versed with the technology so you can help further educate and advise patients.
As the future of telemedicine advances and becomes increasingly more popular, it’s possible that travel nurses can one day enjoy the convenience of checking on patients with a smartphone and reliable internet service. Of course, taking part in such advanced healthcare services will require specialized equipment like:
- A strong and reliable internet connection. As a travel nurse, you’ll need a constant internet connection so you can check in on patients as needed.
- Access to HIPAA-compliant software. Many healthcare facilities employ telehealth platforms and patient portals that typically meet HIPPA requirements. Double-check that they do to ensure you meet HIPPA standards for maintaining patient data privacy.
It may not seem like much, but one day, these could be all you need to help patients from wherever you are. With the rise of telemedicine, it’s beneficial to embrace the tools and technology necessary for its success.
It’s no surprise that virtual healthcare is expanding into all new services with the rise of telemedicine. As telehealth becomes more popular, travel nurses and healthcare providers across the country must adapt and make changes to their health practices. And thanks to modern technology, telehealth and patient care has never been easier.