bridging the gap In Wa
Telehealth can bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and patients. Whether the gap is physical distance, patient mobility or other social reasons, telehealth allows patients to access high quality healthcare using telephone or videoconferencing software.
In Western Australia, the use the telehealth had grown almost 5-fold from 2012 to 2018 [Reference 1]. I would hazard a guess and say this number has grown substantially in the past few months!
why is it so good?
Telehealth in WA, has resulted in massive travel, time and cost savings both to patients and the healthcare system [Reference 2 and 3]. This is especially relevant to our farmers and other West Aussies living in rural and remote locations. Telehealth means they don’t have to travel to larger cities or towns. They can save money on fuel. They don’t have to take time off work or be away from their families.
There’s often a lack of access to healthcare professionals, such as exercise physiologists, in rural and remote locations. Telehealth removes this barrier to care and ensures that everyone has equal opportunity.
telehealth and cardiac rehab
A recent study highlighted that only 46% of eligible patients were referred to cardiac rehab [Reference 4]. Considering attendance at cardiac rehab has been shown to reduce the risk of another heart attack or death by 25-30% [Reference 5], this is quite worrying.
On the brightside, cardiac rehab delivered by telehealth has been shown to be as effective as face-to-face cardiac rehab [Reference 6], with 1 major added bonus. Increased adherence! [Reference 7] This means more people actually attended and completed the exercise sessions when they could do it from the comfort of their own homes.
What health improvements can be expected?
Telehealth can result in improvements in:
- Quality of life
- Mental health (such as reducing depression and anxiety)
- Pain management
- Wound care
- Health education
What are the risks and limitations?
If appropriate procedures and measures are taken, the risk of adverse events (i.e. bad things such as heart attacks, death or falls) during telehealth are no different to face-to-face sessions [Reference 8]. If there is any doubt, telehealth sessions should be conducted with a friend or family member nearby.
Other safety recommendations include:
- Finding a quiet room, away from any distracting pets, colleagues and children
- Making sure you have plenty of space and there’s nothing nearby that you could trip on
- Making sure the room is well lit, for your safety and so that the healthcare professional can clearly see you
Other ways to prepare for your telehealth sessions are:
- Make sure you have a strong internet connection
- Your device has near full battery
- Your device has audio and visual connections
- The camera is set up hands free
the final word
With improvements in technology, cyber security and digital healthcare, the increased use of telehealth will continue. This will our fellow West Aussies with high quality and valued healthcare where they need it most.
We’re here to help! Contact us today to kickstart your Heart Health and Fitness journey.