“Telehealth” uses technology to help people who need health care live more independently at home. It is a product of the modernizing world of medicine. A new study has found, though, that it doesn’t really improve quality of life or psychological outlooks of certain patients.
An example of how telehealth works is that the patient can take her own blood pressure or blood glucose levels. Then she can electronically send them to the doctor, thereby reducing the need to visit the clinic as often. When people have chronic health conditions, such regular monitoring is important.
For long-term conditions, telehealth was thought to reduce the burden on the health-care system while boosting quality of life. But does it? Researchers assessed certain symptoms in over 1,500 patients with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or diabetes.
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They assessed quality of life as it related to health, as well as any symptoms of anxiety or depression. Their findings illustrate that “telehealth” did not improve any of these issues over a span of one year, at least any more than typical care.
The study says that telehealth should not be used as a tool to improve people’s lives, especially those who have chronic conditions.
So, if you’re suffering from a serious illness, the study shows that it’s probably best not to rely on their electronic health measures. However, it can come in handy if you live far away from hospitals or doctors, since telehealth uses the Internet to consult with doctors in real-time, and images and patient data can also be shared over the Web.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Cartwright, M., et al., “Effect of telehealth on quality of life and psychological outcomes over 12 months (Whole Systems Demonstrator telehealth questionnaire study)…” British Medical Journal February 26, 2013.