Telemedicine is a virtual clinic where the healthcare provider and patient are at a distance from each other and try to achieve healthcare solutions by communicating through the medium. However, there are certain pre-requisites that are essential for making the telemedicine a successful therapy. In our previous blog, Telemedicine Video Visits: Challenges and Solutions we focused on the reasons why telemedicine does not work well with many clinics. In this blog, we will concentrate more on the technical aspects associated with telemedicine.
Telemedicine is expanding its geographical reach as it provides a better accessibility to healthcare solutions in rural areas and focuses more on patient engagement. However, to be effective, telehealth visits must be implemented keeping in mind certain technical aspects such as strategizing, managing operational issues, considering governmental policies, and devising standard tools for an efficient and satisfactory care delivery. Technology works only when the workflows are properly tested before implementation so that processes can be refined based on valuable feedback from a few users to avoid disregard when it is rolled out at a larger scale. It is observed that most of the telehealth visits fail to promote patient engagement to the level they should, due to non-compliance with standard protocols like communication.
A human ear is engineered to hear the high frequency natural sounds but sounds like the intestinal and thoracic sounds are low frequency sounds and require eight times more the efforts as compared to that of a normal sound. Audibility is an important factor in determining the diagnosis accuracy and treatment efficiency. Here’s what you might be missing on:
- Clarity in communication – A poor quality of recordings obviously may lead to many other communication errors resulting in incorrect diagnosis and. When the information is inaudible and the physician tries to follow a process for obtaining correct information, it would frustrate the patient as his valuable time is wasted which is definitely not appreciated during critical situations. On the other hand, if the physician jumps to dangerous conclusions (like hearing 15mg as 50 mg), the impact would obviously be serious and could also lead to legal consequences.
- Accuracy in representing the tone – Nasal obstruction, slurring, weakness, and mental status of the patients may go beyond understanding the patients’ words and tone of speech. Moreover, a low quality audio may overhear the emphasis put on a specific word or phrase that is the key to diagnosis accuracy and treatment. In this case, advanced audio processing may help in equalizing the volume without distortion.
- Clarity in challenging environments – There may be many background noises that would interrupt the recordings as they are difficult to control and in such an environment if the patient has an unusual accent or a quiet voice, this may increase the difficulty in interpreting the audio. In such a case, there is a need of a system that has passed standardized tests to improve speech recognition even in the presence of distorting background noises.
- Enhanced auscultation – To hear the sounds that are beyond human hearing capacity like wheezing, heart murmurs, pleurisy, and digestive symptoms even in a high quality recording, a sound system is required which brings these factors into an audible range that could be easily processed by the human ear.
- Improved productivity – When doctors repetitively ask patients to repeat themselves or certain procedures that weren’t clear due to technical incapability, it costs time, frustration, and money of the patient which could easily be avoided by using an advanced audio processing during the original recording. Clinicians must invest in a true diagnostic quality audio system that resultantly increases productivity and quality care.
Recent advances in audio processing units have tried to address these issues by interpreting the sounds just like the human auditory cortex does and raising the low frequency sounds without unnatural artifacts. These advanced processes and many other post-processing advances that ensure that the resulting audio is distortion-free and accurate. This clarity is very essential to get to see the actual whole picture.
Telemedicine is an important tool that aims at improving patient healthcare experiences by providing high-quality, affordable healthcare. Telemedicine has enhanced care feasibility by focusing more in saving time and money of the patients. At Lifecycle Health, we induce advanced mechanisms that aid in making telehealth a successful platform for both – caregivers and patients. For more insight on our ways of managing healthcare, visit http://www.lifecyclehealth.com/ and experience a whirlpool of innovative healthcare methods.