Telehealth: re-defining remote support with the patient

Technology has made great strides in terms of data transfer, constantly improving the quality of traditional telemedicine that involves the transmittance and analysis of patient data. There are now, however, remote services that are equally important and related to patient support in medication therapy management. These services are re-defining the nature of telemedicine and are called Telehealth.

Maslow’s Pyramid and Telehealth

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory, man is considered a whole and dynamic person. Thus, one need affects the whole person and singular needs are inconsequential on their own as a need involves every aspect of the person. This purely holistic concept is at the foundation of the Telehealth services that Domedica proposes and which -by diversifying and developing the services offered through Domedica’s Patient Support Programs– metaphorically move up the levels of Maslow’s pyramid, from the patient’s physiological needs to self-actualization.

Data recovery and analysis- still essential today

Telehealth is divided into two large areas. First, telemedicine is a traditional means of data recovery and analysis that also continuously monitors a patient, for example, who is waiting for a transplant. The greatest advantage of telemedicine is that it monitors and analyzes even important clinical parameters directly at the patient’s home through a special device, allowing the patient to avoid long hospital stays that have no other purpose than to monitor the patient. Through the use of more modern remote technology (that Domedica is equipped with), practically anything can be controlled and monitored from a distance. The patient, without any help from others, can provide data through special devices. Data that can be transmitted is not limited to clinical parameters. The devices automatically send data to a central system that is managed and supervised by Domedica’s Health Care Managers, or rather, expert nurses properly trained for the position. The process is completely automatic in order to preclude errors from reading and interpretation. Among the other services offered is telereading, the possibility of having electrocardiograms read by medical specialists at a distance and then of making them available to the patient’s doctors.

The data is then sent to the Domedica Patient Care platform, where it is then interpreted in accordance with the protocols previously established with the treating physician. Finally, the next step in patient care is decided. Even the physician can access the platform, check data and make decisions, such as changing the patient’s treatment.

Telehealth makes all the difference in pathologies where the continuous measurement of parameters and patient monitoring is fundamental. When not forced to stay in the hospital, the quality of the patient’s life, the effectiveness of monitoring and, hence, treatment, is all improved.

Remote “Personal Trainers”

While telemedicine remains an essential part of Telehealth, the second area that is constantly developing regards more holistic Telehealth services. While a patient most definitely needs a phone number at hand for any eventuality, that is only one link in the chain. Remote services aim at much more –training, involving and motivating the patient so that he feels welcome and encouraged in every aspect of his life.

The simplest way to explain the Telehealth services offered by Domedica is to list them in order in accordance to Maslow’s hierarchy:

  • Training and Treatment Education: this is possible with treatments that require simple administration and that can be explained, in precise terms, at a distance.
  • Support, Bookings, Appointment Reminders, Treatment Expiry Date Reminders: patient calls are scheduled with the physician, agreements with caregivers are made and a system of support aimed at improving adherence to treatment is created.
  • Control and Management of Eventual Side Effects: this has a beneficial impact on adherence to treatment in that the patient is informed in advance and supported through the management of eventual side effects.
  • Control and Management of Patient Misunderstandings: this service is needed when a patient experiences a side-effect and decides to quit treatment, but the experienced reaction was not a side-effect at all and, on the contrary, both normal and expected.
  • Thematic Coaching: the patient’s psychological and emotional profile is monitored in order to offer a series of topics (i.e. coaching) that are both practical (i.e. the importance of a balanced diet and exercise) and emotional and to provide psychological support.

In other words, Telehealth is no longer limited to data analysis, but has taken on the form of a “remote personal trainer” that is capable of supporting the patient in any need that may arise and of making the patient truly feel at the center of a support network.

© Domedica s.r.l.

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