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Introduction

In my psychiatric facility, we have introduced telepsych which is the same as telehealth. This is where the psychiatrist can see patients briefly from a remote location. The doctor can be in another country and still see his patients, give orders to the nurse to write, and do initial psych assessments. This is all done through the web via chatting, video, skype and phone. All these new technologies are very convenient for the doctor. This is an inpatient facility but it can also be done from home when a patient needs to see the doctor for non-emergent issues.

Benefits and Risks

There are benefits and risks to using telehealth. According to Harper, there are 5 benefits. Those are convenience, less time in the waiting room, expedited transmission of MRI’s or X-rays for a second opinion, privacy assurance (Harper, 2012, p. 1). These are benefits that help the patient. Some benefits for the physician would be that they can see more patients and from remote places. On the other hand, there are a few risks as well. Some risks include, electronic glitches, physician resistance, and inadequate assessment. Physician resistance would be about change and change is hard to do. The nurse is a big part of the telehealth scene as the doctor will be giving her orders via phone or video. Telehealth is still a new and evolving technology; while the offsite interventions or contacts often lead to less time being wasted on non-care oriented tasks because of the efficiencies offered by the technology applications, its use must never be associated with less care (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018, p. 361). Glitches can be inherent to this type of technology and potential hackers can disrupt internet/web using technology. Privacy can ultimately be at risk.

Legislatively, December 21, 2017 – Some 63 pieces of legislation focusing on telehealth or telemedicine were approved by 34 state Legislatures this year, according to the Center for Connected Health Policy (“Mobile healthcare, telemedicine, telehealth, BYOD,” 2017, p. 1). It seems that each state is adding to the services of telehealth and it appears there is an ongoing discussion of regulations as far as Medicare and private payer insurances are concerned.

Most Promising Trends

The most promising trends in healthcare today, in my own opinion, would be the Electronic Health Record (EHR). My facility is hesitant to join this trend and therefore we still use paper for everything. This technology is already impacting healthcare. In nursing practice, it saves a lot of time, it is efficient for treatment planning, its is able to be shared amongst all disciplines. The significance of the EHR to nursing cannot be underestimated. Although EHRs on the surface suggest a simple automation of clinical documentation, in fact their implications are broad, ranging from the ways in which care is delivered, to the types of interactions nurses have with patients in conjunction with the use of technology, to the research surrounding EHRs that will inform nursing practice of tomorrow (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018, p. 267).

 

References

2017: A Look Back At The Year In State Telemedicine Legislation. (2017). Retrieved from https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/2017-a-look-back-at-the-year-in-state-telemedicine-legislation

Harper, J. (2012, July 24, 2012). Pros and Cons of telemedicine for todays worker. US NEWS, 1-6. Retrieved from https://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2012/07/24/pros-and-cons-of-telemedicine-for-todays-workers

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

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