Telemedicine: an enhanced emergency care program for older adults
Paul Y Takahashi,1 Anupam Chandra,1 Frederick North,1 Jennifer L Pecina,2 Benjavan Upatising,3 Gregory J Hanson1
1Mayo Clinic Division of Primary Care Internal Medicine, 2Mayo Clinic Department of Family Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA; 3Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA
Abstract: Recent changes and consolidations in health care systems have resulted in an increase in new health care delivery models. Telemedicine holds great promise as one of these models. There is a great potential for new patient evaluation and treatment models in emergency care (EC), especially when patients are miles away from a medical team. Evaluations can be performed in a patient's home, a nursing care facility, and in hospitals that focus on advanced subspecialty care. Due to rapid developments in this area, current care models are constantly being evaluated and modified. This review article outlines current telemedicine models for EC and summarizes their potential benefits to patients and the health care system. The review examines the role that the telephone, a fundamental tool of telemedicine, plays in these new models. The review also examines evidence of improved health care outcomes by highlighting the role of telemedicine in reducing hospitalizations. The patient is the primary focus; as a result, this review also examined patient experiences and satisfaction levels regarding telemedicine health care teams. The authors support these technological advances and their potential for information transfer. Health care providers need to continue developing these models by making use of increasing amounts of information. One of the main implementation barriers of these new models in the US and other countries is the issue of payment and reimbursement. Despite this, advancements in EC telemedicine continue.
Keywords: telemedicine, emergency care, geriatric, patient evaluation models
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