Picking a telehealth company to partner with may seem like a daunting task initially. With so many options to choose from, how do you make the right decision? Before deciding, it’s important to keep in mind the actual definition of “telehealth” and the broad scope of services it’s intended to provide. It is more than just video or audio conferencing with a qualified medical professional.
The Center for Connected Health Policy, or CCHP, defines telehealth as “a collection of means or methods for enhancing health care, public health and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.” Using just phone or video calls is not enough; this definition includes a “broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health, and education services.”¹
CCHP notes companies who consider themselves suppliers of “telehealth” should offer these four main components:
- Live video conferencing (synchronous): patients and providers communicating with one another in real-time using audiovisual solutions.
- Store-and-Forward (asynchronous): transmitting health records and health history to a provider who can then analyze the information and offer services or resources if deemed necessary.
- Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM): collecting and sending medical data from an individual to a provider in a distinct location to be used for support.
- mHealth: sending health practice and education through communication devices such as tablets, computers or cell phones. This can include text messages to encourage healthy living or alerts about large scale issues, such as disease outbreaks or big changes in legislation.²
The companies that only offer video or phone conferencing are missing out on crucial information from patients and methods to evaluate them as effectively as possible. For instance, with Certintell’s RPM solution, a provider or health coach can receive a patient’s blood pressure or weight proactively from the patient’s regular usage. Many competitors, on the other hand, only have word of mouth, live video, or sometimes apps where the patient inserts their own data. It can be easy to misinterpret how a patient feels or looks without the data to back it up, and this could lead to misdiagnosis or insufficient treatment.
It has been said that “since telehealth visits are through a screen, misdiagnoses could increase.”³ However, this is a generalization that should not apply to true telehealth vendors that offer more than just audiovisual calls. One blog even lists some opportunities for effective telehealth as the monitoring of patients recently discharged, behavioral health intervention and treatment of those who are chronically ill.⁴ Certintell offers all of these solutions — and more — using advanced technology than just telephonic or audiovisual conferencing.
Don’t settle for a company that doesn’t encompass all components of telehealth. With Certintell as a partner, not just a vendor, you know exactly what services you’ll be receiving — including all four defined services of telehealth: Synchronous Live Videoconferencing, Asynchronous Store-and-Forward, Remote Patient Monitoring and mHealth.
¹ “About Telehealth.” Center for Connected Health Policy, Public Health Institute, www.cchpca.org/about/about-telehealth.
² “A Framework for Defining Telehealth.” Telehealth Resource Center, www.cchpca.org/sites/default/files/2018-10/Telehealth Definintion Framework for TRCs_0.pdf.
³ Sorce, Katie. “The State of Telehealth – 2019 Update.” Smith & Jones, Smith & Jones, 2019, smithandjones.com/resources/blog/the-state-of-telehealth-2019-update/.
⁴ Rodgers, Tom. “The Challenges and Opportunities of Telemedicine.” McKesson, McKesson Corporation, 18 Nov. 2015, www.mckesson.com/blog/the-challenges-and-opportunities-of-telemedicine/.