Respond to the post bellow offering additional/alternative ideas regarding opportunities and risks related to the observations shared.
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I am currently a home telehealth nurse for a large VA hospital. I worked bedside for 17 years prior my current position. Unlike the inpatient setting, the technology and advancement made for the telehealth programs within the VA are impressive and evolving rapidly.
Technology Trends and Risk
An obvious trend within the VA system is the expansion of technology within the telehealth program. A large percentage of the veterans live in rural areas. At the time, home telehealth technology is limited to monitoring patients with chronic diseases through platforms via PC, a device to manually enter readings daily, mobile apps, and manually entering readings through a phone number. The VA is now trending toward video assisted monitoring with home telehealth. There are physician’s offices and community-based clinics are already using this technology. The primary challenge with this technology is the accessibility of reliable signal strength to patients in rural areas. An additional struggle is difficulty with these veterans working with this technology.
The VA medical system has an adequate privacy and security protection as it relates to data safety and information sent through telemedicine modalities. The VA has a dedicated department that strictly monitors all data activity. Despite the security in place there are risk, specifically with telehealth transmission of personal health information. These risks include accidental transmission of household information and activities including personal interactions with family members or indicators when the patient may not be home (Hall & McGraw, 2014).
Patient care benefits of telemedicine are endless. These benefits include less travel time, real time monitoring of medication changes, monitors patients with chronic condition like COPD and CHF closely to prevent or address acute episode (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). This cuts down on office visits and travel time. More importantly, healthcare management is achieved sooner improving overall patient outcomes. Patient’s rely heavily on monitoring from home creating a potential risk. Often these patients with chronic care management are not compliant with transmitting information or information is sent inconsistently making it difficult to assist with achieving overall goals.
Telehealth technology allows providers to treat remotely defined by state-by-state licensure (Milstead & Short, 2019). The benefit of state regulation is the ability to closely monitor practice and outcomes on a state level. The federal government is considering nationalizing the regulations for telehealth. This presents a dilemma as physicians practicing telehealth will require multi state licenses.
I believe the most promising healthcare trends impacting healthcare technology and nursing practice is the advancement of telemedicine. The ability to remotely monitor patients and maintain a consistent record provide information for time sensitive diagnosis and treatment. The impact this has on nursing is profound. Nurses will be responsible not only for monitoring but for teaching these patients how to manage these problems themselves. The nurse’s consistent communication allows for education not only with medication but with diet, exercise, weight loss and overall prevention. Telehealth is a promising tool to the new culture of preventative healthcare. While patients are in the program, they can interact and learn about their disease process and exacerbation prevention. Telehealth is a win win.
Hall, J. L., & McGraw, D. (2014). For Telehealth to Succeed, Privacy and Security risks must be Identified and Addressed . Health Affairs, 33(2). https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2013.0997
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge (4 ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Milstead, J. A., & Short, N. M. (2019). Health Policy & Politics A Nurse’s Guide. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning Books.