Feasibility of Telehealth
Gena Faye Mones
Academic Writing Perspectives in Health
October 25, 2012
Feasibility of Telehealth
Health is a vital aspect of life, which is why it is important to have an access to different health care services. The world’s population is rising radically every year; thus, the demand for quality health care services also increases. With the application of modern technology the health system has been able to accommodate this demand in many countries through the implementation of Telehealth. In Canada, accessibility and distribution of health care services is influenced by aspects like large landmass, population concentration and economy and (Sevean, et. al., 2008). The feasibility of Telehealth as an instrument for delivering health care services in Canada will be discussed in this paper, focusing on four key themes: service to rural areas, cost effectiveness, responsiveness and ease of access that will be tackled consecutively. The first paragraph after the introduction aims to give an overview on what and how Telehealth works in Canada. Central to the arguments presented in this paper is the pros of using Telehealth by means of telecommunication technologies as a substitute to the actual patient-to-health care provider interaction. Telehealth is defined by Health Canada (2000) as “the application of telecommunications and information technology to the delivery of health care and health-related services and information over large and small distances”. It is basically divided into two distinct parts: the technology being used and the persons (patient or health care provider) (Thede, 2001, para. 2). Telehealth according to Prinz, Cramer, and Englund uses four modes of telecommunication: voice-only or telephone, video images or exchange of information through digital pictures, and virtual contract or video conferencing (Background section, para. 4). Included in the Telehealth Ontario service is a contact number that you can Canadians can call 24 hours a day seven days a week. In consulting the health care provider through phone, once on the line, the health care provider, usually registered nurse, will asks the person on the other line to describe his or her health concern, the nurse will then evaluate the person’s condition and will help him or her to determine the best option available for him or her; whether to go see a doctor, admit himself or herself in an emergency room, the nurse can also advise self-care (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, 2009). Telehealth has already been incorporated in almost every medical field like Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Cardiology, Radiology and Oncology providing accuracy and more services to people. Telehealth aims to elevate the serviceability of health system by providing access for people who has a health concern anytime of any day anywhere. Telehealth provides better health service for people living in the rural areas. Canada has a large landmass with bodies of water surrounding it. The population is not equally distributed, most Canadians live in urban areas, and some smaller communities are located at rural areas and the Aboriginals mostly live in small isolated areas. In the study they conducted in 2008, Sevean, Dampier, Spadoni, Strickland and, Pilatzke found out that Canadians who live in smaller isolated community do not have an access to a quality health care because even though Canada has an excellent health services most of these health services centered on the urban areas and that is also why most health care professionals favor working on urban areas resulting to a shortage of health care professionals in the rural areas. In addition, specific services might only be available to large hospitals that are mostly located on big cities, forcing people in isolated communities to travel miles by land, water or air to get the medical help they need. Most road conditions in the rural areas are undeveloped increasing...
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