Hi, Please, read and contribute to peer discussions in 100 words minimum with 2-3- references in APA style.
Peer 1: The COVID-19 pandemic created an urgent need for distanced care which accelerated advances in Telemedicine and Telehealth. Changes in the provisions of care and health care delivery affect the work of Health Informatics Management (HIM) professionals, as it is their role to ensure the right protocols are in place. Therefore, HIM professionals must work to find solutions to address any concerns or barriers that could negatively affect the delivery of virtual care.
As the delivery of health care services shifts to virtual care, HIM professionals are tasked with responding to the changes and challenges that come with it. Perfecting the technology that allows telehealth to happen is one example. HIM professionals must ensure that the information collected during a telehealth visit can, and is, securely shared and stored in the electronic health record (EHR) system. One solution that may resolve this issue, as one study suggests, is having a “telehealth platform integrated with an interoperable electronic health record (EHR) system” (Zhang & Saltman, 2022). By implementing this technology, HIM professionals can promote interoperability between systems.
Not only do HIM professionals have to think about the technology components, though, but they must also think about how the technology impacts patient care and experience. Promoting interoperability and the exchange of data between systems ensures that the information stored in the EHR is up to date, which could lead to better patient care and health outcomes (Zhang & Saltman, 2022). As virtual care continues to evolve, HIM professionals will need to continue thinking of ways to evolve the technology with the goal of continuing to improve health outcomes in the patient population.
Another challenge for HIM professionals when it comes to virtual care is concerns over telehealth systems’ data security. Researchers who analyzed results from 41 studies on Telehealth found that some common themes were insecure data transmission, privacy, security requirements and risk management (Marquez et al., 2020). These findings suggest that there are industry-wide concerns regarding the security of Telehealth. Patients are connecting to software systems remotely and the security of the connection on the device they are using raises the risk for security attacks (Marquez et al., 2020). As virtual care becomes more common, HIM professionals will need to find ways to mitigate security risks to protect the privacy of patients accessing care remotely.
Marquez, G., Astudillo, H., & Taramasco, C. (2020). Security in Telehealth Systems From a Software Engineering Viewpoint: A Systematic Mapping Study. IEEE Access, 8, 10933–10950. https://doi.org/10.1109/access.2020.2964988
Zhang, X., & Saltman, R. (2022). Impact of Electronic Health Record Interoperability on Telehealth Service Outcomes. JMIR Medical Informatics, 10(1), e31837. https://doi.org/10.2196/3183
Virtual healthcare refers to the “virtual visits” that take place between patients and clinicians via communications technology — the video and audio connectivity that allows “virtual” meetings to occur in real time, from virtually any location. A virtual visit can be a video conference between a doctor and a patient at home. It could mean that a patient can interact with an off site medical specialist via a high-definition conference hookup at his or her local clinic, instead of traveling to another city. It can also give patients the chance to more readily find qualified second opinions online. Thus far, virtual healthcare has been used chiefly for meetings and consultations, check-ins, and status reports, rather than for in-depth diagnosis or treatments. Still, as the technology evolves, more serious conditions like diabetes are falling under the influence of virtual healthcare. Virtual healthcare also better enables specialists to monitor situations or procedures from remote locations. Patient monitoring at home has also been shown to be useful for treating patients with chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, where re hospitalizations too often occur due to lack of communications or transparency about the patient’s condition. (What Is Virtual Healthcare, and How Does It Fit Into telehealth?, n.d.)
Telehealth and telemedicine technology is growing in popularity for a number of reasons, such as offering increased access to care for patients in rural areas and lowering costs for simple visits. Because of its wide variety of benefits, telehealth is becoming a hit with patients and is growing in popularity with providers. HIM professionals also hold a major stake in telehealth services with regard to health data security. Because the entirety of telehealth services operates electronically and online, it is critical that HIM professionals design policies that are HIPAA compliant. Currently there is no way for health information gathered in a telehealth visit to be easily shared with a patient’s other healthcare providers. However, considering the importance of medical data interoperability, it is critical for HIM professionals to develop an infrastructure where secure telehealth data sharing may occur. Because telehealth is a new and emerging method of healthcare delivery, there is no definitive method for reimbursement for telehealth services. However, some insurers do have deals arranged with providers to account for this issue. Many employers also fund an employee’s telehealth visit on the premise that this will save the employee time and keep him or her from missing work. Although it is clear that telehealth helps ease the influx of patients admitted into the ER, The benefits can be more widespread. For example, a heart condition patient can be hooked up to a remote monitoring system. If the patient’s physician detects an issue via the remote monitor, they may then engage in a telehealth visit before determining if the patient needs to be admitted into the hospital. HIM professionals “play a key role in nearly every piece of the puzzle” when it comes to developing telemedicine services. By helping to create the telehealth infrastructure, HIM professionals can help make telemedicine a fixture in healthcare delivery (Heath, 2015)
Prior to the current pandemic, issues with regulation and reimbursement have prevented telemedicine from being fully immersed into the healthcare landscape in the USA. The development and utilisation of telemedicine services is important, as these services allow us to continue to provide high-quality healthcare while maintaining the practice of physical distancing to prevent the spread of these viruses. The benefits of telemedicine include convenience, increased access to care from a distance, especially for patients living in rural areas, and decreased healthcare costs. Studies have shown that telemedicine appointments can be equal to in-patient visits in a variety of specialties. Continued research should be done to improve aspects of the physical examination for telemedicine visits, especially for specialties in which intimate patient contact is an important aspect of the physical exam. Now is the time for us to implement these services and make the usage of telemedicine mainstream. If we do this, we will be prepared for the next pandemic and the future of healthcare. (Telemedicine, the Current COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future: A Narrative Review and Perspectives Moving Forward in the USA, 2020)
Heath, S. (2015, September 28). How HIM Professionals Can Play a Role in Telehealth Services. mHealthIntelligence. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://mhealthintelligence.com/news/how-him-professionals-can-play-a-role-in-telehealth-services
Telemedicine, the current COVID-19 pandemic and the future: a narrative review and perspectives moving forward in the USA. (2020, August 18). NCBI. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7437610/
What is Virtual Healthcare, and How Does It Fit into Telehealth? (n.d.). Downloadable Insights. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from https://news.careinnovations.com/blog/what-is-virtual-healthcare-how-does-it-fit-into-telehealth
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