“…. 45 percent of patients prefer phone communication while 49 percent prefer email communication. (Study Reveals Personalizd, Virtual Messages Are Key To Patient Engagement)” Telehealth encompasses preventive, promotive and curative aspects of healthcare in efforts to assist patients in maintaining their maximum levels of health and wellness. Telenursing more specifically is the use of telephone communications to provide nursing care to patients. This is what Manual will be doing if he decides to accept the position of telenurse specialist at the home health agency. Instead of the traditional way of driving to different patient houses to provide home health care he will be calling and making telephone visits to stay on top of his patients health needs. Telenursing has proven effective as a follow up for patients with chronic health issues in reducing the amount of readmissions they experience. Telehealth can provide many benefits to the patient.
One of the most important benefits is the continuity of care that the patient will have easily accessible to them. Patients will have earlier access to care when needed, which hopefully allow them to be treated sooner so that less interventions and specialties will be needed. Patients in rural areas no longer have to commute long distances for specialized care; they can consult with specialized nurses and physicians via telephone. Health records are kept up to date, especially if the all the patient providers are part of the same system. Cost may be lower for the patient as cost related to commuting is eliminated. A major benefit to the telenurse is less time spent commuting between patient homes means that the nurse has more time to assess evaluate and educate their patients. Patients living in far distant areas with little to no modern road access can still have home health visits by a nurse via teleconferencing. Through teleconferencing the nurse can compete all steps of the nursing process as if they had been there in person.
The promotion and use of telenursing can be beneficial to hospitals and other healthcare organizations because “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides billions of dollars in stimulus funding for research, operations, and grants in the telemedicine, telehealth and informatics sector. (Hebda & Czar, 2013)” There are however many adversities and uncertainties revolving telehealth and telenursing. Issues related to licensure and reimbursements are two of the major setbacks in telehealth. Medicaid does not recognize telehealth as a specific medical service and leaves reimbursement options up to individual states to define reimbursement options. Some states mandate that private insurances cover teleheatlh services but most others are left to the discretion of the insurance company.
Specialized technologists who have to be specifically trained in health care technologies will need to be employed around the clock for possible issues that may arise on either the provider or patient end. Many uncertainties come from liability concerns. Patients tend to feel that they have been cheated out of a fair visit because no provider provided hands on care to them during their visit. Providers as well may be uncomfortable with the idea of treating patients without face-to-face contact. Nurses face issues of liability when information given via telephone or teleconferences is misinterpreted by the patient and results in some form of harm to the patient. Some limitation of the nursing assessment include the lack of ability to distinguish between normal patient skin colors and slight discolorations via camera, palpation of body parts and the inability use the sense of smell to assist in diagnoses such as diabetic ketoacidosis.
Lines of liability and jurisdiction are unclear when telehealth or telenuring cross state lines. Questions regarding whether nurses need to be licensed in every state that they provide tele-sevices to patients persist and remain to be unanswered. Likewise nurses need to be cautious of receiving orders from physicians in other states. Installation of required equipment and networking services can be costly. The field of telehealth services is so new that it lacks any structured set of standards. Accreditation and regulatory matters may be different and may need to be reviewed from the sole aspect of telehealth. With all that being said, after all the technicalities are worked out the field of teleheatlh will be imperative to maintaining patient health.
Telenursing is new to the healthcare field and its contributions to healthcare are currently immeasurable. Manuel will have to become comfortable with computers and technology as they are at the center of providing patient care via telenursing. If the goal is to be able to spend more time at home and provide patient care at the same time tis would be a great opportunity for him. In my opinion Manuel’s twelve years of experience on the medical surgical floor has undoubtedly prepared him to be an amazing telenurse. I think it’s an excellent opportunity to be a part of a groundbreaking section of healthcare, one that also provides you with more flexibility time wise. Manuel I hope that the information that I’ve provided will help you to come to a educated decision about your future job prospect.
Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2013). Handbook of Informatics for Nurses and Heathcare Professionals (5th ed.). Pearson. Study Reveals Personalizd, Virtual Messages Are Key To Patient Engagement. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.telvox.com: http://www.televox.com/newsroom/televox-study-reveals-personalized-virtual-messages-are-key-to-patient-engagement/