Many features of call centers services are comparable to conventional hands on

Many features of call centers services are comparable

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Many features of call centers’ services are comparable to conventional hands- on care in the home. For instance, call centers are typically staffed by RNs who act as case managers or perform patient triage. These professionals can provide infor- mation and counseling to patients as part of a disease management program and as a means to educate them on their disease process. In effect, their goal is to offer appropriate access to care (from nurses at the call centers) and help patients to prevent avoidable emergency room visits and rehospitalizations. An example of this assistance includes a nurse calling (i.e., not waiting for a patient to contact the call center) a recently discharged diabetic patient on a regularly scheduled basis to evaluate progress at home, activity tolerance, medication compliance, foot care, and diet management. This empowering of patients towards self-management is a very significant and needed part of telenursing. Home care telenursing can also involve other activities, such as providing cus- tomized patient education in dietary or exercise needs, nursing teleconsultations, review of results of medical tests and examinations, and assistance to physicians in the implementation of medical treatment protocols. The work can be wide ranging; for example, there are some home-based telecardiology programs that involve the patient, the family, the physician, and a specialized cardiac monitoring center. A multidisciplinary approach is used along with best practice–defined pro- tocols to manage the patient; improve the patient’s quality of life; and reduce healthcare costs, most particularly reduced hospitalization costs. Nurses play a key role in this network of care. By reviewing all of these examples of telenursing practice, one can see that nurses using telenursing can broaden their involvement in the targeted care of
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Telehealth Patient Populations | 329 each of their patients. It is predicted that home care will soon become a hub of all patient activity; the home will be where care that is begun in hospitals and other settings will be managed over the very long term and in the most cost-effective healthcare setting. Home care telenurses can well expect to play a vital and dy- namic role in the changing delivery systems that are likely to be in place in the coming decades. TELEHEALTH PATIENT POPULATIONS (FROM PRIAL AND HOSS, 2009) Any patient who has a condition that must be monitored is a candidate for home telemonitoring. Patients with chronic illnesses have particularly benefited from ongoing monitoring to prevent acute episodes. Patients who are homebound or who have limited access to transportation are also appropriate for monitoring. Chronic Disease Patients Given demographics and advances in medical practice, there has been unprece- dented growth in patients with chronic diseases. Those patients are at significant risk of having an acute episode when subtle but significant changes in their med- ical condition occur. The ability to identify these changes in a timely fashion al-
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