Telepractice

Telepractice

Thomas W. Miller (University of Connecticut, USA) and Jennifer A. Wood (VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-561-2.ch512

Abstract

Telehealth is viewed as the removal of time and distance barriers in the provision of health care and patient education to underserved populations. Examined is a twenty first century clinical consultation model of healthcare. Offered are specific applications within a broad spectrum of services utilizing telehealth technology. Important technology shifts for administrative paradigms, clinical models, and educational information technology for healthcare services through telehealth technology are examined. The future of telehealth and its interface with various critical components of society needs to examine the potential benefits over risks in providing healthcare consultations and services through the educational settings available. Addressed is a technology model, which demonstrates the capability of reducing time and distance barriers in the provision of health care and education through telehealth technology. The use of telehealth technology in rural settings is seen as a viable medium for providing needed diagnostic and clinical consultation for underserved and rural.
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Introduction

The purpose of this chapter is to examine contemporary applications of telepractice within a rural community setting. . A brief review of current data regarding the impact of telepractice upon access and satisfaction with clinical care is provided. A clinical telepractice consultation model is outlined along with illustrative vignettes. Readers are also provided with suggested clinical practice guidelines and practical considerations for telepractice implementation. Telehealth, or the use of telecommunication technology to provide access to health assessment, diagnosis, intervention, consultation, supervision, education, and information across distance, has become a well recognized vehicle for delivering services and disseminating information to a variety of consumer populations as well as professionals and practitioners (Nickelson, 1998; Miller & Hutchins 2008). Given its ability to transcend many of the economic, cultural, and geographic barriers that often prohibit or restrict the provision of health care, the use of telehealth has reshaped traditional systems of care. Moreover, due to its unique capacity to negate many of the traditional obstacles in service delivery, telehealth is often a desirable option for the provision of health care to rural, confined, underserved or isolated groups (Miller & Holcomb 2007).

As a result, a large proportion of telehealth studies have focused on evaluating the effectiveness of telecommunications technology in delivering health services to rural and specialty populations (Wood, 2000). Numerous studies suggest that telehealth can be successfully utilized to improve access to health care services amongst underserved populations and that the quality of care delivered via telehealth is similar to or surpasses that of face-to-face services (Bischoff, Hollist, Smith, & Frank, 2004; Miller, Miller, Kraus, & Sprang, 2003; Norman, 2006) while maintaining a high degree of satisfaction

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