Telehealth has been around since the ’60s, and since then its role in healthcare has been up for debate. This all changed with the pandemic, where it emerged as the best way to ensure continuity in non-urgent patient care.
Today, telehealth has effectively established its place in post-COVID healthcare. PR Newswire even reports that the telehealth market will be worth a whopping USD 787.4 billion in 2028.
In large part, this is because of the many benefits it provides. However, most of these discussions involve advantages available to primary care physicians.
How Telehealth is Revolutionizing Healthcare for Nurse Practitioners and Patients
Below, we’ll expand this discourse by listing a few ways telehealth is revolutionizing healthcare for another vital healthcare worker — the nurse practitioner (NP) — and their patients.
Today, nurses are no longer just doctors’ assistants. Nursing in Practice emphasizes how nurses are now the first point of contact for the majority of patients thanks to their evolving skill sets.
This is especially true for NPs, many of whom have full practice authority to do everything from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment formulation and management.
However, access to healthcare can be hard to attain, especially in areas with minimal healthcare facilities. By removing geographical barriers, telehealth helps NPs reach beyond the hospital and touch far-flung communities.
As a result, NPs get to see more patients — and these patients get to receive high-quality healthcare, no matter where they may be.
Expanded roles and flexibility
NPs can do more than the registered nurse, especially if they have full practice authority. Telehealth platform Wheel adds that remote nurse practitioners can take virtual care a step further by fully acting in the stead of primary care physicians.
Here, they can offer primary and urgent care treatment as well as front-line navigation and triage for a variety of patients over a wide range of conditions.
This can not only reduce the financial cost of unnecessary hospital visits on the patient’s end but also ease the strain on hospital systems — especially amid current staff shortages. Meanwhile, NPs get to do it all remotely and on their own schedule.
NPs and patients can do and receive more thanks to telehealth’s ability to connect with other digital technologies. For one, it can facilitate instant referral to more accurate patient records.
Innovations like smartwatches, portable ECG monitors, and blood glucose devices make it easier to track patient vitals, so NPs can remotely monitor the health of those with chronic conditions or who have been recently discharged from the hospital.
More importantly, integrated telehealth platforms help enhance patient care with features that let NPs order tests, prescribe and procure medications, and even consult doctors or specialists from one convenient location.
Continuous patient care
Telehealth addresses many of the factors that bar continuous and effective patient care. Decentralized access means even those who live far from healthcare facilities or who don’t have time to drop by the hospital can honor their appointments.
This, along with the additional features provided by telehealth platforms means that NPs can practice to the best of their ability. CNBC adds that telehealth makes treatments more cost-effective for both NPs and patients alike by streamlining multiple processes.
Ultimately, patients are incentivized to seek out treatment instead of cutting corners — and NPs get to show their ever-increasing value to the healthcare community.
With telehealth skyrocketing in popularity over the past two years, it’s clear that healthcare won’t be the same moving forward. Instead, there are now more options for NPs to practice and for patients to get better treatment — showing that the future of healthcare is indeed bright.
For more information on how the internet is helping those in need, do read our post on ‘5 Superb Benefits of Using Social Media for Seniors’.