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Telemedicine or e-healthcare is shaping healthcare delivery in a big way. Its foundational idea is to transfer electronic patient health information (ePHI), not the individual, through integrated solutions that allow remote investigation, consultations, and monitoring of vital signs (Nagel, Pomerleau, & Penner, 2013). The tools used include the Internet, phones, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing. This brochure outlines the structure of a telehealthcare project, conditions covered, and nursing services available and provides a useful resource for patients.
The telehealthcare project is designed to support better access to the ePHI, tracking of chronic conditions via wearable devices, distant patient education, case consultation, and transmission of patient-generated biometric data to clinicians. Based on the health needs of patients who cannot access healthcare and those with chronic conditions, the agency will offer the following services:
- Remote diagnostics
- Measurement and transmission of the ePHI
- Distant patient education
Virtual visits may be offered for examination of common conditions such as allergies, asthma, bronchitis, urinary tract infections (UTIs), congestive heart failure (CHF), and diabetes. For example, a nurse can access the ePHI of a patient with diabetes to help him or her plan home visits and therapeutic interventions appropriately. This approach will ensure optimal home-based care, reduced hospitalizations, and lower healthcare costs. Specialty care could also be made available to patients presenting with allergies, UTIs, and gastroenterological and gynecological issues.
Nursing Services Provided
Telenursing entails nursing care delivery through technology solutions that support virtual nurse-patient interactions over considerable geographical distances (Nagel et al., 2013). It centers on care provision and coordination via tools such as video conferencing and telephone calls. The agency through its home telenursing project will provide the following services to patients with chronic health care needs:
- Patient education on healthy diets and physical activity
- Nursing teleconsultations
- Patient triaging
- Remote review of test results
- Patient monitoring
- Treatment protocol implementation and follow-up
One critical telehealth service is remote patient education to support healthier lifestyles – diet and exercise. Telenurses can interact with their patients via the Internet or phone to convey and assess individual health plans. Nurses could use tools, such as video conferencing and podcasts, to recommend appropriate diets to diabetics (Kamei, 2013). Nutritional advice to these patients may be transmitted via these platforms to help them achieve glycemic control. They can also learn about their conditions before hospital visits to be able to make therapeutic choices and participate in self-care.
Nursing consultations can be provided via video conferencing, which is more cost-effective than traveling to the facility. In this setup, nurses will give help to patients through a helpline. According to Nagel et al. (2013), telehealth nursing ensures convenient, safe, holistic, and cost-effective care to those in need. The nurses will also involve other professionals in the telenursing initiative to provide remote care. Telephone triage will ensure that patients are not late for appointments and reduce wait times.
Review of Test Results
The remote reviewing of exam imaging or parametric data is another telenursing service provided by the agency. Nurses can access test results from equipment for digital assessment worn by a patient remotely to diagnose conditions or symptom exacerbations and provide emergency support. Thus, they can deliver immediate self-care recommendations to avert sentinel events.
Patient monitoring for chronic conditions, such as CHF and diabetes, can be provided to promote compliance with diet and exercise and reduce readmissions (Reierson, Solli, & Bjork, 2015). Wearable devices that transmit data will allow nurses to review treatments. Telenurses could also help implement treatment protocols and make follow-ups to improve post-discharge outcomes.
The American Telemedicine Association [ATA] (2018) website provides helpful information on telemedicine delivery models, protocols, and guidelines in this field. It describes home telehealth, monitoring technologies, and applications, and the ATA standards. This resource may be useful to patients with chronic illnesses that require home telehealthcare and support.
American Telemedicine Association. (2018). Home telehealth and remote monitoring SIG. Web.
Kamei, T. (2013). Information and communication technology for home care in the future. Japan Journal of Nursing Science, 10(2), 154-161. Web.
Nagel, D. A., Pomerleau, S. G., & Penner, J. L. (2013). Knowing, caring, and telehealth technology: “Going the distance” in nursing practice. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 31(2), 104-112. Web.
Reierson, I.Å., Solli, H., & Bjørk, I. T. (2015). Nursing students’ perspectives on telenursing in patient care after simulation. Clinical Simulation in Nursing, 11(4), 244-250. Web.