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Telemedicine in Respiratory Care

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine took center stage. Healthcare organizations needed to find ways to connect with patients in a safe setting yet still fulfill their needs.

Telemedicine isn’t new by any means. Defined by the World Health Organization as “an interaction between a health care provider and a patient when the two are separated by distance,” telemedicine has a vital, established role in healthcare.

Yet, the pandemic’s impact gave way to new opportunities in the healthcare field. Respiratory care is one area seeing increased use of telemedicine tools. Graduates of an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Respiratory Care program will gain a foundation of technical and leadership skills in caregiving and respiratory care.

The Pandemic’s Influence on Telemedicine

The pandemic has changed how people seek and receive healthcare. Respiratory care is no different, and this form of remote care has its advantages and nuances.

According to NEJM Catalyst, “The emergence of COVID-19 created a surge in demand for health care providers and their expertise. As a result, several novel ways to deliver healthcare to patients in various conditions were introduced.”

For many patient communities, the delivery of certain health treatments switched to a telemedicine method during the pandemic. As a result, patients could consult with their doctor from the safety and security of home. This allowed many high-risk patients to receive care without venturing into the public environment. In addition, telemedicine protected those most vulnerable to the pandemic and freed up personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.

This form of healthcare is still thriving and very popular among those who do not need urgent or emergency care. Patients can set up an appointment with their doctor quickly and often do not have to wait for hours. The expanded implementation of telemedicine continues to alleviate the long wait times at hospitals and other clinical settings.

How Does Telemedicine Work in the Respiratory Field?

It may not seem feasible for patients needing respiratory care to use telemedicine. Yet, it is possible and even ideal in certain situations. For example, patients seeking help or advice for respiratory needs can set up phone or video consultations with respiratory specialists. Additionally, they can text healthcare providers questions throughout the day or when concerned about a new occurrence from their specific condition.

With video capabilities, healthcare providers can monitor the patient’s environment, allowing them to assess factors contributing to their respiratory concerns. Listening to the patient’s voice also indicates how well an individual is doing and what might be harming them at the time. Still, there are even more advanced telemedicine technologies that aid in comprehensive care.

Advanced Techniques and Technologies Used

Many healthcare facilities offer a mobile app or online waiting room that allows patients to access their health information and set up a mobile appointment. These apps and websites also provide video consultations and phone calls.

The technology used is similar to a messaging app that allows the patient to send confidential and protected communications. This feature ensures no one receives patient information outside of the healthcare organization. Much work has gone into guaranteeing telemedicine technology adheres to privacy regulations.

Patients can fill in their information and document any new developments regarding their treatment process. They can also upload documents to their portal. In addition, nurses and other healthcare providers can access information anytime.

Even better, recent technologies allow for remote patient monitoring. For example, sensors can provide real-time medical-grade data, which is especially beneficial for patients with chronic respiratory conditions.

Prepare for Changes With a Bachelor’s Degree

One way to prepare for changes in the field of respiratory care, alongside increasing use of telemedicine, is to earn your B.S. in Respiratory Care degree. Those who enroll in the B.S. in Respiratory Care online program at Northern Kentucky University will broaden the scope of their respiratory therapy practice and build a foundation for leadership roles.

Students will study a curriculum that offers essential, evidence-based knowledge and skills to deliver practical, ethical, interprofessional caregiving that improves and saves lives. The program allows all students to analyze patient data to make informed decisions about patient care in an interprofessional setting that is collaborative, culturally sensitive and adheres to professional standards.

For example, the Health Assessment and Promotion course covers the techniques and technology used to facilitate home healthcare. In the Advanced Pathophysiology course, students explore current or new standards of respiratory care to prepare them for critical care in the field.

Each future respiratory care professional will obtain the knowledge required to enter influential roles in departments such as acute care hospitals, diagnostics labs, physician offices and other healthcare settings.

Learn more about the Northern Kentucky University’s online B.S. Respiratory Care program.

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