AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog

The Importance of Data and Clinical Documentation on the Future of Telehealth

Telemedicine continues to raise considerable excitement and expectations for its potential impact on the delivery of healthcare. But with much of the initial attention focused on the technical aspects of telehealth, a lack of confidence in the level of data measuring the effects and benefits of telemedicine and telehealth has emerged. Although the feasibility of various telemedicine applications have been tested for decades, the data on costs, effectiveness, quality of care, accessibility and consumer acceptance remain comparatively limited.

Besides cost savings and healthcare access barriers clinical data on treatment and their outcomes will provide improved medical insights. By gathering continuous health data through wearable devices or remote monitors, doctors are able to unleash the full potential of big data analytics to make healthcare delivery more effective and personalized.

The challenge for early practitioners of the new technology is now shifting from the application of the mechanics to developing a framework for documenting and evaluating its progress in practice. As the portfolio of applications of the technology continue to evolve and mature, integrating data collection into routine clinical and administrative functions is vital to capturing critical information on the effects of the technology on practical operations. Credible information is essential to identifying and implementing improvements in service and promoting acceptance by the larger healthcare community.

As the confidence debate continues to circulate many early practitioners of telehealth are reporting results that appear to lend support to the projected benefits to telehealth, but questions concerning the reliability of the data and their stated conclusions should not be ignored. When evaluating the organizational and professional factors involved in implementing an industry-wide telehealth system, the quality of the decisions will be enhanced by more data, not less. As the practice of telemedicine and telehealth continues to evolve, perspectives on what will work best in practice will prevail and lead to more creditable insights as to how to improve telehealth applications across the full spectrum of healthcare service providers.

Peer-provided research concerning the effectiveness of telemedicine and telehealth is very important to gaining provider support and patient confidence for telemedical technologies role in revolutionizing the healthcare delivery model. By creating a systematic process of data collection and credible evaluation, the promised benefits of utilizing telecommunication technology in healthcare will be more fully realized.

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