What is Telehealth and Why Should We Use It?

By Giovanny Ayala

You’ve probably seen the term “telehealth” floating around everywhere from mental health related articles, online counseling sites, or just about any healthcare news outlet. If you haven’t, consider this blog post a brief introduction to the boundless world of telehealth.

What is telehealth?

Telehealth is the practice of providing health care services through the use of technology. For example, HIPAA-compliant video conferencing, a tool that’s made the delivery of health-related services and information not only convenient and practical but extremely useful, especially in the mental health industry and for people (or clients) that may be in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). Many private practices and healthcare enterprises are beginning to adopt this new technology, making meaningful interactions between providers and those who use their services more convenient and practical.

What’s one-way telehealth can help?

The beautiful thing about telehealth is that with its many applications, it offers solutions to several types of problems. Along with reimbursement and regulations, how telehealth will reduce these current barriers depends a great deal on the provider’s willingness to adopt the technology. For example, consider the people who live in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA), where the nearest access to care is miles away. Telehealth technology not only makes access to primary care more readily available but equally diligent to these individuals, especially in cases where chronic conditions need be managed on a continual basis. In managing such a case, telehealth is key to sustainable long-term improvement for these individuals. To recap, telehealth is not bound to servicing one type of health related issue, it’s usage is boundless whether it be facilitating psychiatric counseling or remote patient monitoring (RPM).

Why should I consider telehealth?

The bottom line is our current healthcare system has issues: access to treatment is inefficient, costs are too high, and there are simply not enough healthcare professionals out there to give us the quality in care we deserve. With telehealth, access is effective, costs are low, and time management issues are improved. Telehealth may very well be the solution our current healthcare system needs. If you’re a mental health provider and considering telemedicine as a solution to providing traditional healthcare services read, “8 Things to Do Before Practicing Telehealth”.