Care without limits | Nurses and Telehealth
This month we recognised International Nurses Day around the world. The theme for IND 2021 is “Nurses: A Voice to Lead – A vision for future healthcare.”
IND 2021 has highlighted the central role of nursing as we look into the future, and how the profession will transform the next stage of healthcare. As part of IND2021, the ICN (International Council of Nurses) has released a host of resources, which you can find on their website.
Highlighting the leadership role of Nurses in whole-of-patient care is a message that we thoroughly support at GPNow. Nurses are a pillar of comprehensive care. Among healthcare professionals, they offer one of the broadest ranges of skills.
The nurse can play any number of roles for patients in their care, from discussing concerns and calming nerves, to explaining test results, assessing illness and symptoms or issuing scripts, just to name a few.
As technology changes our expectations around access to healthcare, we believe it will also spotlight the role of nurses in holistic care. Through telehealth and virtual care, we can connect to the healthcare professionals we need from almost anywhere and nurses have a crucial role to play in digital healthcare through the rise of Telenursing.
“Telehealth is an opportunity for patients to receive the care and assistance with chronic disease that they need, in the comfort of their home. Telehealth is also helpful when patients are needing advice or clarification about their care.”
– GPNow Nurse Practitioner
What is Telenursing?
Telenursing – or telehealth nursing – uses a remote connection technology such as a telephone or video call to connect nurses to patients via any connected device.
The use of telephone consultation and triage has existed for some time, driven by the need to provide cost effective, efficient, timely healthcare information to people in metropolitan, rural and remote areas. As technology has progressed, bringing advances in digital health, the ability for telenursing has also expanded.
Telenursing can work well alongside in-person medical care, ensuring continuity of care when options would otherwise be restricted by distance, physical ability, time availability or indeed a public health crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic. Telenurses might work as part of a virtual clinic, hospital care program, insurance company or other allied healthcare provider.
Some telehealth platforms, such as GPNow, provide access to a range of tools for nurses to provide care, including issuing scripts, monitoring recovery milestones, continuing therapy, referring to specialists.
In Australia in particular, Telenursing can form a key part of an ongoing care plan for those in remote and regional areas, particularly those managing ongoing conditions.
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, more people are embracing telehealth as a cost-effective and safe way to check in with their healthcare professional without the risk of spreading disease.
In Australia, the federal government has confirmed Medicare-subsidised telehealth consultations until at least 31 December 2021. Over the year to the end of March 2021, more than 54 million Medicare-subsidised telehealth services were delivered to 13.5 million patients.
Important considerations for Telenursing consultations
At GPNow, one of our guiding principles is ensuring the privacy and confidentiality of consultations on our platform. When looking to make a telehealth consultation with a nurse or any healthcare professional, we recommend requesting a secure connection via a dedicated telehealth platform. Using mass video collaboration tools for healthcare consultations can bring with it security risks.
GPNow was designed with patient protection in mind. No medical information is stored on the platform. All patient medical information is stored separately in existing, proven, robust, industry standard patient management systems.
Another important consideration is looking for a high-quality, low-bandwidth connection. For medical consultations it is important to look for diagnostic level video.
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