Digital healthcare services and virtual care facilities insert great potential in improving rural health communities and health equity. Healthcare innovation in virtual care delivery serves to stretch the capabilities of reducing healthcare staff shortages in rural facilities and organizations.

digital healthcare services

By conducting triaging or pre-screening of patients before sending them to a facility to reroute any surplus clinical capacities from a large medical or academic center to rural organizations. By facilitating telehealth appointments from city-based providers and patients in rural areas, telehealth services have improved care delivery solutions by exerting expertise towards rural care.

Expanding Access for Digital Healthcare Services to Integrate Rural Telehealth

A study published by the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine stated that telemedicine in rural areas has been an adequate alternative in place of in-person care treatment plans. This has helped to drive the completion of appointment rates in the healthcare industry.

Researchers have examined that a cohort retrospective study using patient data and information can help to correlate the rate of completed visitations and the setting in which the visit has taken place.

The underserved patient population has benefited at an optimum level from digital healthcare services. This has driven the appointment completion rates to approximately 20%. This study also found that telehealth services are less likely to be used by new patients and older rural residents. At-risk individuals are less than likely to complete a visit but the integration of telemedicine in rural areas has been conducive regard to appointment participation amongst this particular sect of people.

Expanding the accessibility of digital healthcare services and telehealth integration during the pandemic, boosted appointment completion rates among rural residents. This was essentially true for patients who were difficult to reach, especially those who lived further than the local clinical and healthcare locations and those with severe comorbid health concerns.

Improving Health Equity and Rural Care with Telehealth Innovations and Digital Healthcare Services

Improving telehealth rural areas can be quite challenging, hence, it is essential to remember to increase access to care services. Improving the rural telehealth services is directly proportional to improving accessibility to the scarce availability of specialists and subspecialists for patients, especially when the underserved patient population may miss appointments due to scarce care delivery availability. This accessibility is particularly vital when there is a high demand for cardiological concerns where specialists can help patients through virtual care and digital healthcare services.

A lot of success has been observed when addressing rural health concerns with the help of the Hub and Spoke concept model for telehealth. This model ensures hospitals and health systems partner up with specialists to bring care delivery closer to people living in underserved and rural communities.

Instead of requiring patients to travel long distances to reach an appropriate healthcare facility or a hub, providers and specialists work towards enabling their clinics to be set up in rural communities. These clinics are equipped with digital healthcare services and capabilities, assisting patients to remain in their locality while still receiving access to healthcare specialists instead of traveling long distances. This ability to connect with providers virtually from home or the local provider office can alleviate the cost and time on patients and prevent provider burnout.

Benefits of Telehealth in Rural Areas

Digital healthcare services have been recognized as one of the top modes of healthcare delivery. With the introduction of telehealth services, rural healthcare has improved for chronically-ill patients and their quality of life. One of the ways to improve healthcare access with telehealth services in rural communities has observed reduced readmissions, reduced hospitalizations, and lower mortality rates.

Telemedicine in rural areas has been transforming the way underserved patient populations receive care services with the help of technological integrations. Telehealth in rural areas assisted people living in underserved communities, especially those who do not have transportation facilities. Digital healthcare services also assist providers and healthcare personnel in monitoring patients with chronic illnesses (heart and respiratory diseases, diabetes). This helps in reducing the risk of death and the need for hospitalization.

Here are a few benefits of telehealth in rural areas.

  • Connecting underserved patients with providers

    Telehealth in rural communities has provided a major benefit in connecting patients with their providers. Telehealth innovations have made the process of receiving care through technology more simplified and accessible. With telehealth programs, providers can connect with their patients and communicate regarding their care treatment plans and appointments. Providers can find leverage through technological integrations to communicate beyond the hospital walls. Telehealth services also improve monitoring processes for effective treatment solutions and care delivery concerns.

  • Promotes patient-centric healthcare services

    Digital healthcare services encourage telehealth integration to improve quality, treatment outcomes, and patient satisfaction, By promoting telehealth, patients can easily communicate with their providers with non-face-to-face appointments with patient-centric healthcare approaches. Having a patient-first prioritization benefits the residents residing in rural areas. Transportation concerns become a minor inconvenience and providers have more access to health data and information about the patient’s history. Furthermore, providers can effectively educate patients in the comfort of their homes.

  • Reducing hospital readmissions

    Integrating digital healthcare services has seen a reduced rate of patient readmissions and hospitalizations. With telehealth in the system framework, providers can utilize the benefits of telecommunication to allow medical practitioners to intervene in the early detection of clinical decompensation for patients. This prevents further deterioration of the patient’s condition and constrains the need for hospital readmission. Hence, proving to be a less intrusive method and remarkably benefits the patients residing in rural communities.

  • Ensuring timely care management

    Implementing innovative healthcare management protocols ensures that patients receive their care services on time. Telehealth programs and technologies enable this timely care for patients factor in rural communities at large. It has also assisted in offering continuous care to patients at any given point of time while enhancing healthcare adjustments. Through telecommunication, providers gain the access to inquire about patients at convenient times and extend their services round-the-clock.

  • Reduces cost and enables optimum efficiency

    Telehealth services are a public promising instrument for healthcare because of their ability to increase access to healthcare significantly. This helps in reducing healthcare costs and improves the health outcomes for patients. Rural areas with a short supply of medical devices require an increasing demand for telehealth services. Digital healthcare services have reduced the costs of transportation, patient wait times, and scheduled appointment cancellations can be eliminated.

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Final thoughts,

The methodology of remote patient monitoring has become a simple and secure gateway for healthcare organizations to integrate digital healthcare services. This fusion of technology provides immense benefits for telehealth in rural areas. The key values include simplified reimbursements, reduced hospital readmissions, improves patient satisfaction, and enhanced provider-patient communication. Digital health development companies like Mobisoft Infotech have defined the proponents of telehealth and remote care technologies.

This will widen care accessibility, reduce overhead costs, and enhance patient health outcomes. Aside from innovative healthcare management, telehealth in rural areas has become a fantastic platform for enabling telecommunication between patients and providers. This has increased the promotion of patient-centric healthcare, reduced patient readmissions in hospitals, enabled on-time care delivery, and an overall experience for patients.

 Integrate digital healthcare services to elevate telehealth platforms in rural

Author's Bio

Shailendra Sinhasane

Shailendra Sinhasane (Shail) is the co-founder and CEO of Mobisoft Infotech. He has been focused on cloud solutions, mobile strategy, cross-platform development, IoT innovations and advising healthcare startups in building scalable products.