Telemedicine involves certified medical professionals using electronic communication devices to diagnose and treat illnesses in patients. This scope of medicine bridges the gap between doctor and patient located in two different cities or even continents.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) offers telemedicine training to Registered Nurses (RN) and Advanced Practicing Nurses (APRN) because they also require this skill to treat patients and provide assistance to doctors remotely.
Telemedicine makes it easier for doctors to follow up on the recovery of patients who can’t physically show up for each appointment due to hectic work schedules. A patient just needs to spend 15 minutes on a video call with their doctor and discuss the progress.
What Is The Role of Nurses in Telemedicine?
1. Updating Doctors and Other Specialists on a Patient’s Medical History
Some medical facilities, such as those located in prison, operate in isolated areas where there might be one or two resident physicians. When a patient has a condition that requires the intervention of a specialist, the nurse must provide medical reports before the virtual appointment.
2. Administering Tests and Collecting Results
A doctor may request a patient to take a couple of medical tests that will help in diagnosis. Since the doctor isn’t physically present, the nurse takes over and performs these tests or takes patients to the laboratory. They also follow up on test results and update medical records on behalf of the doctors.
3. Training Patients and Caregivers on How to Use Telehealth Software
Patients who display impressive progress during recovery tend to get an early discharge from the hospital. The patient’s family members, who assume the role of caregivers might need some training on how to collect important information using specialized software to enable doctors to monitor progress remotely.
4. Booking Appointments for Patients
Patients who’ve successfully undergone major surgeries require observation for months for the doctor to confirm whether full recovery took place. Sometimes the patient might need to visit different specialists, fortunately for them, nurses book appointments on their behalf.
How Do I Become a Certified Telemedicine Nurse?
Registered Nurses (RN) can become telemedicine nurses after enrolling in an ambulatory nursing course from the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN). LPNs cannot take this course unless taking a bridging RN course.
What Are The Advantages of Telemedicine for Patients?
Here are a couple of ways Information & Communication Technology (ICT) improves the delivery of medical services to patients.
1. Enhanced Access to Diverse Medical Services
Residents in rural areas or confined communities such as prisons tend to have a disadvantage because doctors prefer working for medical facilities that pay premium hourly rates. Telemedicine makes it possible for residents in such areas to access medical specialists from different areas without incurring transport costs.
2. No Waiting Rooms
Telemedicine is effective because the system works by booking individual appointments that have specified time intervals. This makes the process of booking appointments more reliable because you’re sure of meeting the doctor at the agreed date.
3. Better Response Time to Emerging Medical Issues
Sometimes infections may occur after a patient receives treatment from the hospital. A sutured wound, for instance, may develop a bacterial infection after a couple of days requiring the attention of a doctor. The patient can take photos of the wound and send them to their doctor for advice.
What Are The Challenges of Telemedicine in Nursing?
1. Telemedicine Equipment and Maintenance is Expensive
Telemedicine equipment consists of high-resolution cameras and sophisticated computer systems to ensure that communication runs without any glitches. Hospitals also require to purchase highly encrypted video communication software to prevent hackers from breaching doctor-patient confidentiality. The cost of these items is usually beyond the reach of medical facilities serving low-income communities.
2. Incompatible with Patients That aren’t Tech Savvy
Some patients, especially those above 50 years of age tend to struggle with tech products and this poses a huge challenge when a doctor expects the patient to book appointments remotely.
Telemedicine Needs Nurses to Function
Nurses play an important role in telemedicine because they prepare the patients for virtual appointments by collecting medical data and performing tests on behalf of doctors. Patients also rely on nurses for training on how to use telehealth software at home.