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Overcoming challenges faced by telehealth adoption

June 29, 2021 | 2 min read

By Tim Morris

A woman telehealth provider speaks with a geriatic patient.

Tim Morris, Clinical Executive at Elsevier, examines what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of telehealth adoption for the future.

Telehealth technology has advanced rapidly and carries many advantages, yet there is still concerns around the quality of care received during digital consultations compared to face-to-face visits. Patients tend to perceive care provided over telehealth sessions to be of lower quality as compared to in-person visits. Tim Morris, Clinical Executive, EMEALAAP, Elsevier, examines what needs to be done to ensure the sustainability of telehealth adoption for the future.

Firstly, being able to capture the right records to make informed clinical decisions is important. Having a robust electronic health record (EHR) system helps. Data can be securely shared from hospitals to home. The EHR system needs to be augmented with a clinical decision support system that enable clinicians to make evidence-based clinical decisions when seeing the patient remotely.

To tackle concerns of impersonal patient experiences, healthcare professionals need to effectively communicate with patients over the phone and video.

Digital health technologies are here to stay and for it to be sustainable in the long term, it is essential for healthcare providers to address the issue around the quality of care received, such as to increase acceptance among the less digital savvy, invest in better telehealth infrastructure, and ensure that the quality of patient care is no longer viewed as impersonal but as if in-person. Maintaining a personal touch with patients is vital, through being able to communicate effectively and empathetically and assess accurately, despite reduced levels of visual acuity and distorted noise.