Featured Articles: Meaningful Use of HIT

Five Reasons Why Telehealth Makes Sense for You!

Friday, May 12, 2017   (0 Comments)
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Sirene Garcia, Director of Special Programs, Finger Lakes Community Health


Terry Yonker from Finger Lakes Community Health will be presenting a session called Growing Together Using a TEAM Approach in Rural CHCs at the Spring Primary Care Conference in Spokane


Tired of traveling to see a specialist? Taking additional time off from work? Now you don’t have to. Telehealth can bring those specialists to you….in your providers’ office. Telehealth is the delivery of health services and information using a HIPAA compliant real time electronic methods.  It can include physicians discussing a patient’s illness by telephone and/or video conferencing between health facilities.  All of which reduces per-visit costs while improving quality of care. 


The use of telehealth technology is a valuable tool that can help bridge the geographic gap for rural communities, many of whom can’t get quality healthcare services and typically suffer from more chronic diseases. 


How does it work? Telehealth is a way for healthcare providers to deliver healthcare and education to their patients through telecommunications devices including stethoscopes, otoscopes and general exam cameras that allow the distant specialist to see and hear as they normally would during a traditional visit. Without leaving your providers office, you can have an initial consult with a specialist and do a preliminary exam. 


At Finger Lakes Community Health, we have partnerships with specialists throughout the region who “see” our patients using this technology. For instance, our patients have access to a pediatric dentist, nutritionist, pediatric neurologist, pediatric and adult psychiatrist, and infectious disease specialist among others. It’s a great way to get our patients access to care and a time saving tool. Also, telehealth helps bring the two providers together to work as a team through care coordination to improve health outcomes. 


Evidence shows that telehealth is a viable way to improve access to specialists in our rural communities. Does your healthcare provider offer telehealth services? Here are five reasons why they should:

  1. Telehealth connects rural patients to specialty care. Sometimes, patients who live in a rural area only have access to their primary care provider or a dentist. What if they need psychiatric care or an appointment with a nutritionist to manage their diabetes? If your healthcare provider has a telehealth system in place, you will have access to specialists without the additional travel and time required. You will also not be limited to the specialist that you can get to but one that best fits your needs. They can come to you via telehealth.
  2. It reduces travel time for you…and time off from work. With telehealth, you can travel to one practice for your healthcare needs and visit the specialist -- one stop shopping. What would you do with all that extra time? 
  3. Telehealth affords you the opportunity to see your provider earlier and faster. Imagine being able to see your provider and specialist for an illness as soon as you start to feel unwell. Or receive an early diagnosis that helps stop the spread of an infection. Both are possible with telehealth. 
  4. Your provider will have access to a network, a large one. A telehealth system can connect medical practices to high quality hospitals and specialists that it may not normally have access to. This worldwide network can provide the additional care patients need --without geographic boundaries!
  5. Bilingual patients can now have access to an interpreter. Sometimes a language barrier prevents patients from seeing their providers on a regular basis. Imagine having a conversation with your provider and not being able to explain your symptoms or understand the remedy. Telehealth systems provide access to a patient interpreter. For bilingual patients or non-native English speakers, this can mean a world of difference. 


NWRPCA welcomes and regularly publishes white papers and articles submitted by members, partners and associates with subject matter expertise. The appearance of any guest publication in our Health Center News database represents the views of the author and does not constitute endorsement by NWRPCA of the stated opinions or perspectives, nor does it suggest endorsement of the contributor's products or services.

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