Telemedicine and Nutritional Counseling for Chronic Patients

Lt. Commander Rivkah Weiss checks the vital signs of a girl who was possibly stung by a stonefish. Pacific Partnership 2011 is a humanitarian assistance initiative, which promotes cooperation throughout the Pacific and will visit five island nations this summer: Tonga, Vanuatu, Timor-Leste, Papua New Guinea, and the Federated States of Micronesia. (Photo by: Kristopher Radder)

One of the biggest problems that the US faces is taking care of chronic health patients, because of their long-term medical needs. From heart conditions to depression, arthritis to stroke, cancer to type II diabetes all require full-time medical management and that too by expert professionals.

Studies show that 117 million people are affected of which 81% are hospital admissions, 91% are on prescription medication, and 76% need physician visits. This means that more than half the medical care goes to these chronic health patients.

The worst part is that it has been estimated that by 2025, chronic diseases will affect about 164 million Americans, which is almost half the population. What this indicates is that the current system for health care management of long-term chronic diseases is inadequate and will need change. But the question is – what change is necessary and what can work best for people who have chronic illnesses?

The answer lies in use of telemedicine, a process that is efficient and can be given right at the comfort of a patient’s own home.

Telemedicine and Nutritional Counselling

The time when patients needed to visit the doctor for even the smallest of things is long gone. With innovation and technology, more and more chronic patients are opting for telemedicine, and nutritional counseling as that allows them to avail medical expertise while remaining in the comfort of their homes.

What’s more, chronic patients find it difficult to move every time to visit the doctor, and hence telemedicine lets them get in touch with medical health experts without going through the pain of traveling every time they come across a medical problem.

Studies have shown that this telemedicine and nutritional counseling has seen positive outcomes. Patients suffering from chronic conditions like respiratory disease and cardiovascular issues have shown improvements regarding the quality of their life, reduction in hospital stays and even mortality. This is clear evidence that the system is not only workable but highly useful for people with chronic illnesses.

So what exactly is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is an entire system which provides medical care through the use of telecommunication technology. It includes everything from diagnosis to treatment, prescribing of medication to therapy counseling and more. Once a patient is enrolled in the program, their health will be monitored for as long as they need and appropriate changes will be made to their treatment program as often as necessary.

Not only does it cut down the waiting time, but it also reduces the influx of visitors to a health professional. The doctor or medical staff will easily be able to diagnosis what a patient is suffering from and suggest treatment method without their being any need for the patient to physically visit the doctor.

What are the benefits of nutritional counseling via telemedicine? Here is what you need to know.

Managing Treatment Plan

When it comes to management of chronic diseases, there is a need for medication as well as lifestyle changes. From weight check to dietary changes, exercise routines to stress management and all in between, all have to be monitored and assessed regularly.

Having to visit the doctor’s office every week or multiple times a month is not only time consuming, but fatiguing, which is why many chronic patients avoid it. With telemedicine, this situation becomes simple and much more convenient. Doctors and patients can communicate more efficiently and at any day or time without having to worry about any worsening condition.

Virtual home visits for seniors are still considered nascent, but they are going to make it big in the following year for sure. More and more seniors are overcoming their aversions to new medical practices and the use of technology. As a result, the elderly people are coming forward to embrace the nutritional programs that provide assistance via remote diagnosis, prognosis, treatments, and prescriptions for a number of common conditions such as GERD, diabetes, bladder and sinus infections.

We all need help to stay on track especially when it comes to our eating habits. After all, there is no better way to manage chronic conditions than with proper nutrition. The problem arises when patients discover so many trendy diets and exciting meal plans online, and they don’t really know where to turn for help.

If you have a dietician available who can guide you through a personalized approach and help get the right nutritional plan, your life will become so much more comfortable.

Medicine Management

Those who are suffering from chronic conditions need more than one set of medicines. To make sure that the patient is taking the right dosage at the right time, telemedicine will allow for more accurate treatment options.

Remote medicine management allows for proper medication dispensing without barging at the doctor’s office for multiple visits. This technological advancement ensures that both doctor and patient have life easy.

Home-Based Devices for Remote Diagnosis

A number of innovated devices are to be introduced and made available to the patients by the year 2018. These include the technologically advanced home lab testing equipment allowing remote managing even when chronic patient care is required. These will ensure that the clinical staff residing in a facility can assess and diagnose patients living far away without any hurdles.

The future will also witness the explosion of downloadable applications for both the patients’ and the providers’ use. This will let the patients enjoy instant and low-cost lab tests with straight away results. Moreover, these future devices will make use of the computer analytics to provide appropriate preventative recommendations for the patients as well.

This will decrease the cost of telehealth services and with that will come a tremendous increase in the number of patients. While the physicians will need to focus on their patients, the telemedicine industry will be there to take care of the selection, management installation, and maintenance of the digital equipment.

In a nutshell, telemedicine industry is headed for a future that will be relying heavily on artificial intelligence and automation innovations. While the users are still in awe how this will be possible, the technology is on an all-new track of advancement.

When patients sign up for nutritional counseling, they find it easier to design a meal plan, identify eating habit changes needed, set dietary goals and most importantly, they know the right way to stick with these changes for a long time.

Genuine Need vs. Exaggerated Concern

This is something that is very common among patients with chronic illness. Some are so careful that they frequently visit the doctor more than necessary, while other become lax to the point that they even ignore serious symptoms.

With telemedicine managing who is actually sick and who is exaggerating the condition will become easier. The doctor will not be burdened with an influx of worried patients who think that a simple fever could indicate something drastic. And at the same time, health care professionals will be able to give serious patients the attention and medical care they require.

When you are working with a counselor who knows you, your medical condition and your dietary habits, the better your nutritional plan and care will be.

It is the ideal solution for the American chronic patient health care needs. The thing is, more hospitals will need to adopt this setup for it to work effectively and reduce the influx of patients at the doctor’s clinic or hospitals. The sooner systems of telemedicine and apps that ease the life of individuals are brought in use, the faster and more efficient medical care for chronic patients will become.

About Sherley Alaba

Sherley Alaba is an eagle-eyed wordsmith; a writer and translator, always interested in ways which can help individuals (especially youth and women) reach their full creative potential. Her focus has been on writing, producing and editing stories on business, finance, interesting personalities, entrepreneurs, culture, the environment, gastronomy, lifestyle, and social issues. Currently, she is associated as a blogger with Hourglass Express, providers of quality waist trainers, belly bands, and other weight loss products.
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