Hospital Software Solutions Case Analysis

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A literature review of Patients and Families experiences with video telehealth in rural/remote communities in Northern Canada.

Rahul Raj
Student id # 100806429
Course director: Diane Duff
George Brown College, Toronto, Ontario

Date of submission: March 02, 2012

Introduction
The literature review critically valuates the families’ experiences with video telehealth in rural communities in Northern Canada. Many electronic health care research projects have tested the video teleconferencing in Northern Canada. Diverse methods were tested for patients and families residing in the rural and remote communities. This issue will be structured, reassessed and abridged from the review of research studies conducted by Sevean, Dampier, Michelle, Strickland and Susan in 2008.

What is video telehealth?
It is a free, confidential Video telephone service one can call to get health advice or general health information from a Registered Nurse. This means quick, easy access to a qualified health professional, who can assess the patients’ symptoms and help them decide the best first step. The nurse can help the patient decide whether they can take care of themselves, make an appointment with a doctor, go to a clinic, contact a community service or go to a hospital emergency room. When the patient calls, he or she is asked to describe the symptoms and answer questions to best assess the seriousness of the problem. Based on the assessment, the Registered Nurse can either advise the best possible mode of treatment. In Ontario the telehealth service is provided in English and French, with translation support for other languages and a direct number for those with hearing and speech difficulties. It is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. For geriatric patients or for those for whom distance is an issue Video Telehealth is the best bet. Efforts have been made to monitor patients at home with telehealth equipment installed in their home. The equipment at the patients’ house monitors vital signs such as blood pressure; temperature; weight; blood glucose; and oxygen intake. The information collected is sent via the patient’s telephone line to the computer in the health centre. If the reports are abnormal a respiratory specialist nurse will decide on the appropriate action. The video Telehealth allows the healthcare professionals to deliver high quality care tailored to individual patients in their homes. This is both comfortable as well as affordable to them as it saves on the hospital admission. Moreover, this is good for the Physicians as they do not have to make multiple visits. It enables the doctor to manage long term conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease effectively at home. It can lead to early diagnosis of other health problems and empowers patients to understand their illness and take a more active role in their own care.

Literature Review
The literature consists of qualitative and qualitative research studies conducted between January – March, 2006 in the community. Eligible patients were given written information about the study. The communities were scattered throughout North-western Ontario. Participant doctors included health care specialities such as; paediatrics, surgery, oncology and palliative care and patients who lived 100-600 km from tertiary centre (Dillon & Loermans 2004, Stewart et al. 2004). Three academic peer-reviewed research studies were identified and reviewed using an electronic journal article database search of the health care and health informatics academic literature. “Video telehealth” research is largely qualitative and only one quantitative study was found in the literature. The most common research methods were semi-structure interviews which were directed to groups followed by thematic study. The goal of the literature review is to abstract the common themes found in the current “Video Telehealth” research...
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