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How technology is already changing the world of home care

By Peter DiMaria

Telehealth and Senior Care Enfield

Besides offering experienced, trained caregivers, Home Helpers also adds electronic monitoring devices to your health plan, to keep your loved one safe and healthy.

The word telehealth is formed by the combination of the prefix “tele”, which means distance, associated with the concept of health. It is health access from a distance, mediated by electronic equipment, providing clinical care in circumstances where distance separates those receiving services and those providing services.

The idea behind telehealth isn’t new. In the 1990s, cameras and video equipment started to be used to connect doctors and health practitioners to remote areas of the world, where their services were unavailable. With the advent of the internet and widespread connectivity, the principle became more accessible and more affordable.

Veterans Care Enfield

One example of the advances in Telehealth is the Veterans Administration engagement with four companies to provide vital signs telehealth monitoring to veterans in their homes, awarding contracts with the potential to exceed $1 billion.

Nowadays, Telehealth encompasses a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services. Telehealth is not a specific service, but a collection of means to enhance care and education delivery. It is also sometimes called telemedicine.

Currently, telehealth services are systematized in four different categories:

  • Live video or synchronous telehealth: Live interaction between a person (patient, caregiver, or provider) and a provider using audio and video communications. It is often called “real-time” service, with the objective of enabling an in-person encounter when that is not possible. It is the case I mentioned above, when people live in places that are difficult to reach, like forests or mountains. Live video telehealth can save lives, making possible for people to make consultations, obtain diagnostics, and receive treatment advice and prescription.

  • Store-and-forward or asynchronous: It consists of the collection of a recorded health history, x-rays, bio-signals, voice recordings and photos which are then securely transmitted to a specialist, who uses the information to evaluate the case and returns the message. It can be utilized to access specialty care when there are limited specialists in the community.

Home Care: Remote monitoring services and medical alert systems

 emergency alert systems 

  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM): This modality consists of a wide range of equipment that allows monitoring the conditions of a patient from a distance. Home Helpers’ Direct Link products which monitor if somebody falls or is in an emergency are an example. Another Direct Link device timely dispenses medicine to home care patients and sends an alert to the family if they don't take it.

    In recent years, a wide range of new distance monitoring equipment has emerged. They collect information like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and other personal health and medical data, which are then transmitted to a provider in a different location for use in care and related support. This type of service allows individuals to stay healthy in their home and community for a longer time.

  • Mobile health, also known as mHealth: Often used to promote health care and public health practices and education with the use of devices like cell phones, tablets, and computers. Services are defined depending on the objectives and audience. It may consist of text messages that promote a healthy lifestyle, health news bulletins, alerts about disease outbreaks, or information on the availability of vaccines, amongst numerous possibilities.

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