Information System for management: Report on Telehealth and Telemedicine

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3REPORT ON TELEHEALTH AND TELEMEDICINE

Information System for Management: Report on Telehealth and Telemedicine

Information System for Management: Report on Telehealth and Telemedicine

Introduction

Telemedicine is a very significant section of health informatics which involves the use of updated telecommunication technologies to eliminate distance barrier, facilitate medical care and improve education system. Telemedicine has been widely incorporated into the medical informatics program. It refers to the process where medical information is exchanged between different sites by use of electric information technology with the aim of improving patients’ health condition. Telemedicine involves various developing applications and services which make use of technological gadgets such as smart phones and emails (Phillips 2014). Currently, hospitals extend their services for the people living in rural regions; telecommunication has significantly facilitated this outreach. Majority of medical health providers have incorporated the telemedicine technology into their systems (EIKELBOOMa’b 2012).

Telemedicine is not an independent field. Products that facilitate telemedicine are usually sections of investment by health care organizations under the information technology budget or under the effective delivery of medical services. The American Telemedicine Association (ATA) considers the term telemedicine and Tele-health as the same; however, the term Tele-health is occasionally used in reference to remote heath care services that are distinct from clinical health. Telemedicine may be used to refer to health information technology. Nevertheless, HIT is in most cases used to refer to electric medical data whereas telemedicine is used in reference to the act of delivering clinical services in rural regions (Demiris 2003). This paper seeks to evaluate; the benefits and limitations of telemedicine; the requirements of effective delivery in the Australian context; and how Australia’s case compares to other countries.

Benefits and Limitations to Patients and Families

Telehealth plays a significant role to patients and their families in Australia. It has facilitated the electronic availability of patients’ information which plays a big role in the discovery of the nature of illnesses. It enables patients to receive the appropriate treatment without repeated diagnosis (Phillips 2014). The patients’ families are provided with accurate information concerning the patient’s health records.

Telemedicine has enhanced primary health care. Patients can receive health care services from home; while patients undergo certain treatments, close monitoring is essential. These effects can be communicated to health care providers via video links. Prescriptions can also be ordered from pharmacies through email and delivered to the patient. It reduces the amount of effort and time the family members would have otherwise used to acquire the same service. Telemedicine has significantly reduced health-care costs through reduced transport. It has greatly improved heath outcome for patients in Australia; it has enhanced the capability to handling emergency cases. There is enhancement in quality control of the programmes used in mass detection of certain diseases such as cancer (EIKELBOOMa’b 2012).

However, the use of telemedicine may result to some limitations to patients and their families. Telemedicine results to poor relationship between health providers and patients. The use of cell phones as a method of telecommunication has decreased the quality of communication between the patients and their doctors due to lack of documentations. Video consultations are limited. Also, patients suffering from hearing problems or visual ailments may have difficult moments in the attempt to interpret the doctor’s video response. However, it is possible to overcome these challenges; success video consultations have occurred in impaired patients in Australia (Demiris 2003).

Benefits and Limitations to The Providers

Health care providers utilize electronic search engines which offer a wide variety of easily accessible updated case oriented data. Such search engines include; PUBMED and MEDLARS (Thaker 2013).Health professionals can order journal articles online; it offers the health providers an opportunity to expound knowledge and ability in their specialty field. Telemedicine in Australia has facilitated effective communication between health providers. In the previous eras, letters were used for communication between primary and secondary health providers. With telemedicine, files can be sent within seconds. It allows simple and rapid exchange of patient’s health history information and offers easy access of patient information found in private hospitals (EIKELBOOMa’b 2012).

Telemedicine has led to improvement in the service delivery by health providers. They can easily monitor patients from their homes; hence, saving a lot of time. Also, health providers are able to stay continually in touch with their patients. Health professionals utilize video links to discuss among themselves the most excellent sites for particular type of healthcare information. Video links refer to technological application that facilitates video communication between two individuals in different regions (Demiris 2003). Many health professional are able to undertake further learning such as post graduate studies by the use of electronic means. There is easy access of lectures offered by specialist all over the globe by use of the video linking technique. Examinations are also undertaken via video links.

However, there are some limitations associated with telemedicine that affect the health providers. In most cases, the health provider is unable to develop good relation with the patient unlike during face-to-face interaction (Demiris 2003). Also, with increased use of telemedicine, there is notable decrease in the relations between health providers as they rarely interact physically. In a video link, health professionals are not able to conduct full diagnosis for patients; however, some researchers argue that it is possible to overcome this limitation with future technological advances.

Benefits and Limitations to the government

Telemedicine has resulted to reduced healthcare budgets by the Australian government. It has resulted to an expansion in the research and development sector. Telemedicine has opened innovative focus for organizations in Australia. It has led to expansion in the global competitiveness at different levels in Australia. It offers employment opportunities to information technologists (Thaker 2013).

However, telemedicine has various limitations to the government. There is reduction in revenue with the telemedicine technology due to cost reductions and reduced transport. Also, there is fear that the role of government-employed health professionals may diminish with the increased use of telemedicine which may lead to a lot of financial loses to the Australian government (Thaker 2013). In the implementation of telecommunication, the government may also face challenges in convincing some health professionals to quit their normal way of service provision.

Benefits and Limitations to the Society

After the introduction of telemedicine, the health sector has been able to offer clinical services that were not previously available to the society. Australian citizens living in isolated areas are able to acquire medical health (Demiris 2003). Telemedicine has facilitated the training of health professional to serve the community. It is predicted that telemedicine will play even a larger role in the teaching curriculum so as to improve the access of education to different people in the society. Additionally, telemedicine has led to the improvement of health standards in the society. It has improved the level care delivery in the society. It has enhanced the emergency care coverage in the Australia (Phillips 2014). Also, with the reduced travel, families of the patients are able to engage in other developmental activities.

However, some limitations affecting the Australian society are associated with the use of telemedicine. According to (Demiris 2003), there is great fear continued use of telemedicine will result to failed relation between health providers and the society they ought to serve. There is risk that the society may face the consequences of inaccurate internet information. Online articles may be biased and imprecise and may puzzle many individuals seeking information about various illnesses. In the prevention of such risks, the society needs to be well informed concerning how to accurate online articles. Also, telemedicine is largely affected by cultural and linguistic disparities in the society. The elderly people in the society are reluctant to endorse new technology; hence, telemedicine may not be of any use to them (EIKELBOOMa’b 2012).

Technology Requirements for Implementation of Telemedicine

Telemedicine is facilitated by various technological devices such as mobile phones, use of internet, and activities which include incorporation of online diagnostics, the use of haptics. The asynchronous transfer mode refers to the most efficient offer in the context of telemedicine. These systems are vital during the transfer of information that has high data content. AT is integrated with the synchronous optical network (SONET) so as to enhance the effectiveness of the system (Phillips 2014). The system is of excellent quality and sends information very fast. Application of mobile systems in the telemedicine is very significant. Mobile services are also present in ambulances and are divided into five categories which include; cordless, paging, personal mobile radio technology, cellular, and satellite. While incorporated in ambulances, the wireless gadget transfers information concerning a patient’s condition (Thaker 2013).

Wireless devices are divided into 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, and 3rd Generation. The three offer both analog and digital services which is very reliable. The 3rd Generation has integrated broadband multimedia mobile operations that vary from 144 kbps to 384kbps (Phillips 2014). The next innovation of wireless mobile will have large transmission capability and there will be the possibility of delivering complex medical services most dependably with compromising the quality of the services. Currently, there are computer software applications that have the capability of retrieving particular information which is vital for clinical decision making. The Mitre Corporation launched a system that makes use of ATM fast switching systems to facilitate exchange of sound, information, and video pictures between various medical services. The presence of an emergency telemedicine system which utilizes wireless systems has facilitated effective monitor of patients in ambulances (Thaker 2013).

Cell phones are very significant in telemedicine; however, they are only used in the transfer of data of minimal entries (Phillips 2014). There is the use of hybrid fiber coaxial cable (HFC) which is found to be one of the most cost effective telemedicine systems. Also, the basic cell phone services, integrated service digital network (ISDN) and ATM incorporations have proofed to be considerably cost effective. Electrocardiogram transmissions have proved very effective in the transmission of patient data. In the current situation in Australia, most telemedicine services incorporate off-the-shelf systems. Some of these systems may be costly and rigid ((Demiris 2003). Additionally, most of these systems are designed in a closed manner because the vendors are completely independent. No consultations occur between vendors; hence, telemedicine gadgets produced by one company are unable to communicate with telemedicine gadgets produced by other companies. Independent vendors ought to communicate with other vendors so as to produce systems that can communicate with each other. This step will be very signification in reducing the unnecessary costs in telemedicine.

Educational Requirement

Most of the technological applications require some level of training. Video conferencing installation in hospitals and offering medical providers with manufacturer’s manual is not enough to facilitate effective use of telemedicine in the in healthcare delivery. Also, offering regulation and knowledge documents to healthcare providers is not helpful. Health care professional ought to undergo thorough training concerning effective use and implementation of telemedicine (Demiris 2003).Professionals ought to undergo training on how to use technological systems in consultation and for executive roles. Training offered ought to be constant particularly in areas where the level of worker recruitment is high. Training programs should incorporate practical sessions set at distinct medical cases. Its incorporation into staff orientations and professional development period has proved very significant in major health organizations In Australia. There is need for provision of user-friendly training guidebooks (Phillips 2014).

Other Requirements

Health professionals ought to implement telemedicine systems with respect to the state and medical regulations. In some cases organizational bureaucratic procedures act as hindrances for effective implementation of telemedicine (Thaker et al 2013). There is a possibility of increased medical unprofessional conduct with increased use of telemedicine which is against the medical ethics. In some regions, there are regulations that all health professionals utilizing telemedicine ought to acquire valid licenses from the patient’s state. Some states require doctors to acquire license from their home country before providing any telemedicine services to patients. Such requirements lie under the Medicaid rules. Telemedicine applications ought to meet various federal necessities with respect to the economic status and health standards (Thaker 2013).

Comparison of Australian with the International Context

Telemedicine Australia (TMA) is the oldest dealer of telemedicine in Australia. TMA partners with over 87 states in the globe. Telemedicine has widely been used in developed countries such as Australia. However, it has not been established in developing countries. Developing countries have large areas of remote regions with high populations and few health professionals. Due to economic status of these countries, telemedicine systems are difficult to implement. For instance, in Australia, only 15% of the country’s total population lives in the remote regions. In the United States, around 24% of the total population is living in remote areas. However, in developing countries more than 64% of the total population resides in remote areas (Mars 2012). Additionally, there is shortage of health care providers in the developing countries. In most developing countries, there is only 1 health professional in a population of 18000 people. In contrast, there are 3 health professionals for every 18000 people in Australia. In the developing countries, there is frequent mismanagement of available resources and improper donor intervention has led to poor health services in the regions (EIKELBOOMa’b 2012).

In Saudi Arabia, there is constant challenge in the delivery of effective health care in the remote regions. Telemedicine was adopted in Saudi Arabia in the year 1993. No reliable research has been conducted to investigate the role of telemedicine in the country; however, it is estimated that 33.3% of health care providers utilize telemedicine (Mars 2012). The Australian government has minimal restrictions for utilization of video conferencing, cell phones, and the internet between health care providers and patients. However, in some countries the government constantly regulates the use of technology in the medical field through increased value added taxes of telemedicine applications (Thaker et al 2013).

In the United States, states are required to provide coverage of State Plan Amendment (SPA) which explains; the telemedicine system in the region; the medical professionals present in the region of its provision; and its implementation methodology. However, lengthily submissions may be avoided by placing concise descriptions of the structure of the telemedicine in an preliminary part of the State Plan. This information is then referred to telemedicine coverage in the appropriate part of the plan (Phillips 2014).

Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper evaluated the benefits and limitations of telemedicine; the requirements of effective delivery in the Australian context and how Australia’s case compared to other countries. Telemedicine is an important part of health informatics and has widely been integrated into medical informatics programs. It has improved the quality of primary care and it simplifies the process of patient monitoring. It facilitates availability of reliable health information and offers easy access medical education. Telemedicine is delivered through networked systems, use of monitor links and e-health patient information. It has numerous advantages which include; easy patient access, cost reduction, quality of health enhancement, improving education levels in the society. Telemedicine is currently the most reliable replacement of traditional face-to-face interactions between doctors and patients. However it has some potential limitations which include; Telemedicine is associated with great potential advantages; however, the potential advantages do not offer a guarantee for its full implementation. Moreover, there is insufficient evidence showing that products manufacturers, the government, and health care providers are willing to adapt to this new technology.

In Australia, and the developed countries, telemedicine is widely implemented. In the developing countries telemedicine implementation is inhibited by unavailability of adequate resources, mismanagement of existing resources, and inadequate health professionals. Also, in the developing countries, rural areas are largely populated compared to the developed countries. Many countries and health professionals should be encouraged to incorporate telemedicine in healthcare provision services because it has proved to have numerous potential benefits. In the developing countries, governments ought to allocate adequate resources to the healthcare system. Different telemedicine application vendors ought to form partnerships in order to develop compatible application gadgets. Health informatics students ought to acquire the required knowledge for the execution of telemedicine technology. Telemedicine courses may be integrated into informatics courses with the aim of offering students with a general idea of what the field entails.

Bibliography

Demiris, G 2003, ‘Integration of telemedicine in graduate medical informatics education,’ Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 310-314. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181980/

EIKELBOOMa’b, R H 2012, ‘The telegraph and the beginnings of telemedicine in Australia,’ Global Telehealth 2012, pp. 67. http://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XUnfxyQvQ6oC&oi=fnd&pg=PA67&dq=EIKELBOOMa%E2%80%99b,+R+H+2012,+%E2%80%98The+telegraph+and+the+beginnings+of+telemedicine+in+Australia,%E2%80%99+Global+Telehealth+&ots=LKN9OeecMe&sig=IvX8k2Sx3TbhJXAdFV50Jh58AI8&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=EIKELBOOMa%E2%80%99b%2C%20R%20H%202012%2C%20%E2%80%98The%20telegraph%20and%20the%20beginnings%20of%20telemedicine%20in%20Australia%2C%E2%80%99%20Global%20Telehealth&f=false

Mars, M 2012, ‘Introduction: e-Health in Africa,’ Telemedicine and e-Health, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 3-4. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/29/2/237.long

Phillips, B 2014, ‘Telemedicine: Why the Law Must Change to Promote a Better Healthcare System,’ Privacy Law Bulletin, LexisNexis, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 20. http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2432418

Thaker, DA, Monypenny, R, Olver, I, Sabesan, S 2013 ‘Cost savings from a telemedicine model of care in northern Queensland, Australia,’ Med J Aust, vol. 199, no. 6, pp. 414-417. https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2013/199/6/cost-savings-telemedicine-model-care-northern-queensland-australia