How to Use Technology and Telehealth to Enhance the Interprofessional Community of Practice

How to Use Technology and Telehealth to Enhance the Interprofessional Community of Practice

Steven D. Waldman (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, USA), Corey W. Waldman (University of Texas-San Antonio School of Medicine, USA), Reid A. Waldman (UConn Health, USA) and Judith Ovalle Abuabara (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 7
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3066-5.ch006

Abstract

The widespread availability and use of digital technology including the internet, cell phones, remote electrocardiogram, PACS (picture archiving and communication) systems, and video chat platforms such as Facetime and Zoom have fueled the growth of telehealth. In 2013, only about 350,000 Americans utilized telehealth technology as part of their care plan, and most of these patient interactions involved the use of telephone consults. By the end of 2018, that number had jumped to over 7,000,000. Coupled with the exponential increase in the use of telehealth technology has been a rapid decrease in the cost of telehealth technology and HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms. The ease of use and relative affordability of these technologic advances make telehealth technology an ideal tool to enhance the interprofessional community of practice.
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Introduction

The widespread availability and use of digital technology including the internet, cell phones, remote electrocardiogram, PACS (picture archiving and communication) systems, and video chat platforms such as Facetime and Zoom have fueled the growth of telehealth. In 2013, only about 350,000 Americans utilized telehealth technology as part of their care plan and most of these patient interactions involved the use of telephone consults. By the end of 2018, that number had jumped to over 7,000,000. The recent Covid-19 pandemic has led to an explosive increase in the use of telehealth, with virtual visits expected to exceed one billion interactions by the end of 2020.(Coombs, 2020) Coupled with the exponential increase in the use of telehealth technology has been a rapid decrease in the cost of telehealth technology and HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms.

The ease of use and relative affordability of these technologic advances make telehealth technology an ideal tool to enhance the interprofessional community of practice. Advantages of telehealth are summarized in Table 1 and include the expansion of access to care for remote and disadvantaged patients, improved patient engagement, improved patient satisfaction, reduced costs, improved clinical workflows, enhanced ability for collaborative practice, and most importantly, improved clinical outcomes. Because privacy and anonymity may be important to some individuals seeking help for mental health problems, telehealth has the potential to help alleviate this issue by allowing patients to receive care in the privacy of their own home. As the interprofessional healthcare team has gained experience and confidence in the use of telehealth technology, specialized applications of telehealth programs such as remote hypertension improvement programs, behavioral telehealth, and “hospital at home” programs have the potential to further leverage the benefits of telehealth.(Weinstein, Krupinski, & Doarn, 2018) (Table 2)

Table 1.
Advantages of telehealth
     · Increased access to care
     · Improved patient engagement
     · Improved patient satisfaction
     · Improved patient autonomy
     · Improved clinical outcomes
     · Decreased costs
     · Improved clinical workflows
     · Enhanced ability for collaborative practice
Table 2.
Telehealth applications for behavioral health
DomainPotential Telehealth Solutions
Interprofessional CollaborationReal-time patient/provider and provider/provider interactive communication
AssessmentStore and forward video of patient behaviors
Medication ManagementAutomated text reminders to take medicines
Individual Talk TherapyReal-time patient/provider interactive communication
Group TherapyReal-time patient/provider interactive group communication
Support Groups For Relapse PreventionReal-time patient/provider interactive group communication
EducationWebinars using video chat technology

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