TELEHEALTH
October 15, 2018

Technology certainly has changed the world in my lifetime. Like most individuals of a certain age, I have struggled with many aspects of technology.  I hate having to use my laptop in the exam room because it takes my visual focus off of the patient. I think patients sense that I am not totally focused on what they are telling me.  I usually explain that I am an old guy with the computer and ask for their patience and forgiveness while I type in whatever complaint or comment they may have on this visit.

Telehealth is another attempt to use technology to benefit patients by making it easier for them to get advice and treatment without having to travel, and making it more likely that they will seek care.  Along with this purpose comes studies on how, and if, this approach is working.  A recent review of 45 studies looking at the effectiveness of telehealth in pulmonary disease found that 25 studies showed positive results, 9 studies showed contradictory results, and 11 studies showed negative results.

What do the studies tell us about telehealth? Some folks like it and have adapted to it, and some have not.  I do know that as time goes on my grandchildren, who help me with my smartphone and explain to me how to do things on the computer, will find little trouble in adapting to and using telehealth services.  In fact. I suspect that most will demand it.

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