The virtual future of healthcare delivery in rural communities

Access to care, distance, connectivity, and financial hardship are just a few of the challenges faced by rural health. Is technology the answer?

Rural healthcare providers encounter unique hurdles that are not prevalent in most urban areas when providing high-quality care. Although rural communities have access to local healthcare institutions, there are many other factors that influence their ability to receive care. For example, for primary and specialised treatment, most rural inhabitants must travel vast distances. Those in urban regions can use public transportation to the doctor, whereas patients in rural areas do not have that luxury.

Access to care, distance, connectivity, and financial hardship are just a few of the challenges faced by rural health. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 epidemic has exacerbated many of these problems in recent years, which is especially worrying given that rural towns tend to have populations that are older and have more chronic illnesses. Cost of insurance and expert services, having dependable transportation to and from essential services, time to attend appointments, and confidence in the quality of services are just a few of the things to consider.

Is there a way to make healthcare in rural places more accessible, connected, and coordinated?

Technology has made many areas of life easier, but it also posed a significant problem in healthcare, particularly for patients who require continuing or sophisticated treatment for chronic conditions and must travel vast distances for multiple healthcare services.

So is technology the answer? 

Scenario: Our patient Linda lives in a rural area

Consider the following scenario to see how technology might aid in the delivery of high-quality healthcare in remote locations. 

Introducing Linda, a 30-year-old patient with gestational diabetes who is in her second pregnancy. Linda lives in a rural place with a limited income and no easy access to the clinic from her home. 

Linda is unaware that she has gestational diabetes as a result of these restrictions, and she does not seek medical guidance until her pregnancy is far into the second trimester. 

When Linda suffers a case of hyperglycaemia, she is admitted to the hospital. Linda is frequently taken to the hospital beginning at 28 weeks of pregnancy for bed rest, foetal monitoring, and intensive supervision by a variety of specialists.

Introducing virtual care

But repeated hospital admissions could have been averted in this dire condition. This is where virtual care enters the picture. Remote patient monitoring via video, phone, email, and messaging allows healthcare providers to access patients in their homes and communities, regardless of where they are.

Virtual care is a type of care that is delivered to patients via technology from a distance. Remote monitoring is combined with comprehensive care coordination and patient interaction tools in this system. A full package that expands the reach of the care provider into the house while incorporating patients more closely in their care planning and delivery is completed by central decision support and other critical features. 

Virtual care is critical to a long-term health system that provides the correct treatment to the right people at the right time and place.

To read more about how Linda could have avoided being admitted to the hospital with a complicated birth, read the whitepaper. The whitepaper examines two scenarios for Linda and the significance of virtual care in identifying her high risk pregnancy early and avoiding repeated hospital admissions.