Updated: Mar 2
As the environment is changing fast-from technological advancement due to pandemic-related changes, it all stems down to demand in flexibility and adaptation. Over the last few months, the use of technology has increased as people are more open to switch from face-to-face to non -face to face engagement. The NDIA supports these changes as more people would prefer to stay at home. With this new normal, it is special to highlight that this new norm should not be a hindrance to accessing health services most especially in the disability sector. Thus, it’s important to understand how access to service providers and medical specialists may change to accommodate the participant’s needs. Today, we are going to tackle the new kind of providing healthcare remotely in the NDIS: Telehealth
What is telehealth? it is the employment of remote technologies or digital platform which allows the participant to access health care services, health education, and health information at the comforts of your preferred place like your home. If a participant is having challenges in attending a medical appointment due to health, safety, distance or travel then a telehealth service would be the key.
Some of the more common telehealth services include:
· Speech therapy
What are the benefits of telehealth to patients?
· Very efficient- it does not demand time for commute or travel going to a medical appointment, no waiting time · Cost efficient-does not involve transportation cost, does not involve a support worker to assist in the appointment, and because this platform requires no travel, this gives the participant the opportunity to reallocate his/her transportation funding to other services · Very convenient- it serves as an alternate platform which allows the participant to get healthcare service at the comforts of their home, service can be accessed through a smartphone · Safety-reduces the risk of possible exposure to highly contagious diseases
What are the benefits of telehealth to service providers?
Improves patient outcomes-increases participant reach as it will cater to patients who live in rural areas and who have little to zero access to specialists
Takes pressure off hospitals and emergency departments-helps cut down hospital traffic like admissions or re-admissions
Increases patient engagement and satisfaction-with the new health threat and its uncertainty as to when it will end, participants feel more secure and comfortable staying at home rather than risking themselves going out, taking public transportation, or waiting for their turn at the GP’s clinic or therapist. This platform resolves the concerns and issues of the participant, thus resulting in increased engagement and client satisfaction
Reduces no show /cancellation-in some cases, participants have a hard time with face to face medical appointment as they have transportation challenges, by using this platform, service providers get an assurance that their client's transportation concerns are addressed, thus, reduction of “no show” cases
How to access telehealth?
Since many service providers offer telehealth appointments you can book online via their websites. Other service providers may not state it on their website or any social media platforms as they render the telehealth upon request only. Telehealth is easily accessible as the participant only needs a device that allows him/her to access the internet and a good internet connection. Other service providers may ask the participant to download other software such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype.
It is important that when you arrange your first telehealth appointment, you must discuss with your service provider the apps they will require from you, some may send instructions prior to the appointment. Do not be overwhelmed as the first part of the consultation usually revolves around the service provider assisting you to set up with all the tools needed.
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