In recent years, telehealth has emerged as a transformative solution in IoT healthcare. With advancements in technology and increased accessibility, telehealth has gained popularity as an alternative method of receiving medical care. This article talks about telehealth pros and cons, we also examine the benefits it offers as well as the potential disadvantages to consider.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, is the way for monitoring and taking care of patients remotely. Health care providers (physicians or doctors) can make a phone call, use video call, or monitor the patient’s health by using IoT devices (see why IoT is important). The most important aspect of telehealth is that the patient has internet access.
Benefits of telehealth
Among the benefits of telehealth, we can find enhanced accessibility, convenience and flexibility, improved patient engagement, cost savings, chronic disease management, reduction of infectious disease spreading, and time saving.
Telehealth eliminates geographic barriers and provides access to healthcare services for individuals residing in remote or underserved areas. Patients can connect with healthcare professionals regardless of their location, ensuring that quality care is accessible to all.
Convenience and flexibility
One of the main pros of telehealth is that it eliminates the need for in-person visits, saving patients the time and effort involved in traveling to a hospital or clinic. Appointments can be scheduled at a convenient time, reducing disruptions to daily routines.
Improved patient engagement
Telehealth encourages active patient participation in their healthcare journey. Patients can access their medical records, review test results, and engage in virtual consultations, leading to better understanding and collaboration between patients and healthcare providers.
They also become more aware of their treatments and get involved with the times of their medication.
Telehealth can result in significant cost savings for both patients and healthcare providers. By avoiding travel expenses and reducing the need for physical infrastructure, telehealth offers a more cost-effective approach to healthcare delivery.
Efficient chronic disease management
For people with chronic conditions, telehealth benefits them because it enables regular monitoring and remote management.
This way, patients can easily track vital signs, receive timely interventions, and access educational resources to better manage their health from the comfort of their homes.
Reduction of infectious disease spreading
Amongst the benefits of telehealth, healthcare providers can prevent infectious diseases from spreading inside the hospital or clinic.
Since telehealth allows remote monitoring and medical consultation, people that present COVID-19 symptoms or other diseases that are infectious won’t increase the risk of spreading such sicknesses in other places.
Also, the patients won’t be exposed to dangerous germs or environmental factors that may affect them during the recovery.
One big pro of telehealth is that patients can often receive prompt medical attention. This can help alleviate the strain on healthcare facilities, reduce crowded waiting rooms, and enable faster access to necessary care.
Cons of Telehealth
It is also worth noting the disadvantages of telehealth. Though having remote monitoring, and virtual appointments for medical purposes is really convenient for the reasons we exposed above, there are some downsides of telemedicine.
Limited physical examinations
Certain medical conditions may require in-person examinations or procedures that cannot be replicated through virtual consultations.
Telehealth disadvantage here is that it may have limitations in providing a comprehensive physical examination, potentially leading to a partial evaluation of a patient’s health.
The effectiveness of telehealth relies on the availability of reliable internet connections and suitable technology. We don’t deny the power of this technology to collect data in real time and to send it to the cloud (See IoT and cloud computing examples), where a doctor or physician can check the information from a platform or application.
However, in areas with poor connectivity or limited access to devices, telehealth may not be a feasible option for checking medical conditions, or for health monitoring services.
Security and privacy concerns
Transmitting medical information electronically introduces potential security and privacy risks. Safeguarding patient data and ensuring compliance with healthcare privacy regulations are crucial aspects that need to be addressed in telehealth implementations.
Technical difficulties and user experience
Another disadvantage of telehealth is that patients and healthcare providers may encounter technical difficulties during telehealth sessions, leading to interrupted or ineffective consultations.
User experience challenges, such as learning to navigate new platforms or devices, can also hinder the adoption and effectiveness of telehealth services.
Lack of personal connection
In some cases, telehealth consultations may lack the personal connection that in-person visits provide. The absence of physical presence and touch can impact the patient-doctor relationship and affect the overall patient experience.
Though this lack of personal connection doesn’t affect the health recovery process of the patient, several studies suggest it is better to foster good communication to ensure a better medical treatment.
Quick review on benefits of telehealth
Now that we have covered the pros and cons of telehealth, it is important to bear in mind that every case is different. The information provided here serves as an example of the things that may happen during the telehealth services. However, this does not mean that they will appear constantly as a barrier for providing or receiving good medical treatment.
Telehealth has the potential to revolutionize healthcare delivery by overcoming barriers of distance and enhancing patient access to quality care. The benefits of telehealth, such as improved accessibility, convenience, and patient engagement, are undeniable.
However, despite the potential disadvantages of telemedicine, we think there are more advantages that would encourage hospitals and clinics to adopt new technologies.
The recommendation here is to deeply care about the IoT framework, the different IoT protocols that will enhance the user experience, prototyping of IoT devices, and the languages that the devices will use for collecting, sending and processing data (IoT with Python).
Firmware and software used in devices that support telemedicine will also be crucial for enhancing the experience of the patient and doctor.
If startups or companies want to develop devices for telehealth purposes, we recommend relying on good hardware design services, as they will be an important determinant for building reliable healthcare solutions that will be used by hospitals in the telehealth services.