Telehealth is an emerging method of medical care that takes advantage of technological developments in communication among providers and between providers and patients. Smart-phone based telemedicine technology allows for tumor board meetings, treatment planning meetings, medication management, genetic counseling, and more to take place digitally.
The Advisory Board takes on telehealth in the article called, “Is your cancer program maximizing use of telehealth to improve patient care?” where authors Deidre Saulet and Soleil Shah discuss and analyze results from a survey in which more than 200 cancer programs reported their uses for telehealth.
1/3 of cancer programs that participated in the survey expressed their usage of the genetic counseling service through telehealth, making it the most popular service used by patients. On the other hand, the most prominent application utilized to help providers communicate with each other in the work setting is tumor boards, with 47% of providers reporting usage. The efficiency of digital communication is key and the benefits of telehealth are widespread, “Using it [telehealth] to deliver services and monitor patients can help cancer programs improve patient access, decrease health care costs, and increase provider- and practice-level operational efficiencies.”
In order for these benefits to become a reality for providers and patients, it is essential that both the physicians offering telehealth services and the patients receiving care can seamlessly access medical data and images. This is where cloud-based image-management solutions can come into play. Cloud software can help physicians provide care from any location with mobile capabilities and anytime, anywhere access. Recently, Ambra’s image management software was installed in a mobile mammography van unit through a combined effort with Mitsubishi Healthcare in Japan. The partnership allows instant routing of mammography images through the web to Sagara Hospital, reaching more women in the community and speeding up time-to-care delivery.