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Telemedicine for Aging in Place

What is Telemedicine?

Telehealth is an umbrella term that refers to the wide range of services used to deliver healthcare virtually. Telemedicine is defined as the remote delivery of healthcare services, using technology to provide patients with remote clinical services. It is the two-way, real-time conferencing between doctor and patient, or between to providers. This mode of healthcare delivery makes healthcare more accessible, cost-effective, and increases patient engagement. Telemedicine has also provided seniors with the choice to age in place.

Modalities of Telemedicine

There are numerous modalities that telemedicine can be used to share information with the patient. Interactive, or “live” medicine allows patients and physicians to communicate in real-time. Through this modality, you can speak to your healthcare provider like a normal visit. It can be used to diagnose illnesses, address patient concerns, or help manage a long-term issue. The Store-and-Forward modality uses a secure platform so providers can share medical data with their patients and other healthcare specialists. This is most similar to email, and facilitates sharing of information across different providers. Lastly, Remote Patient Monitoring allows for the tracking of vital signs using sensors, cameras, and other devices to monitor patients in their own homes. This modality is often favored among patients aging in place.
With the COVID-19 still a concern, especially for the immunocompromised population, telemedicine may provide a safer alternative for your loved one in order to decrease the chance of transmission by leaving the house. Thus, telemedicine can be particularly beneficial for the aging population.

Benefits of Telemedicine

  1. Promotes independence. Telemedicine gives seniors the opportunity to maintain independence so that they can schedule their appointments to fit their needs.
  1. Conserves energy. Televisits are especially good for frail, older adults since it minimizes the time and energy spent traveling to the office.
  1. Decreases chance of exposure. By accessing your doctor’s appointment remotely in your home, telemedicine decreases the exposure to germs that may be present in the clinic or in the outside world. This is especially important for seniors, who are more susceptible to COVID-19. 
  1. Facilitates medication management. Older adults are more likely to forget to take their medications. Telemedicine can be used to monitor when and if their patients took their medication, leading to fewer hospital readmissions and enhancing medication compliance.
  1. Provides comfort and security for seniors who live alone. If a caregiver needs to ask their doctor a question, telemedicine enables one to do so simply by sending a message through the web portal rather than waiting for the next appointment. This can bring both the caregiver and patient more peace of mind.
  1. Helps to bridge gaps in care. Lack of transportation and/or mobility issues may be a burden for both patients and caregivers. Telemedicine provides easy access to a patient that lives in a rural area or a long distance from a doctor’s office.
Happier at Home prides itself in keeping seniors safe at home while maintaining their independence. Telehealth services is one way to help the senior who is aging in place maintain just that. Our caregivers are another option to supplement your loved one’s independence, and can help you navigate the world of technology containing telehealth.
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