The virtual hospital is a collection of different technologies that work together to allow healthcare professionals to let a patient recover, convalesce, or even receive treatment at home. It means rather than having to spend both time and money in a hospital bed, or take the time out of the day to go down to a clinic or hospital for an appointment, all of this is now transferred to the comfort and familiarity of home. The virtual hospital is improving medical care in many ways, but this is only possible as a result of the Internet, and here’s why.
Electronic Health Records
The electronic health record, or EHR, is an early beneficiary of the Internet revolution. It simply means that all of a patient’s relevant medical record data—including insurance information—is centralized in one file of data, but, more importantly, that data is accessible to anyone who needs it. In the past, if a patient had one regular doctor, but then visited another doctor, say, during a trip, the patient would have to remember all relevant medical information to relay to the new doctor, since he or she wouldn’t have access to the medical records a regular family doctor had been filling.
Now, however, whether it’s an emergency room situation, or just a new nurse practitioner visiting a home for a routine virtual hospital check-up, the important medical data is always available for the professionals that need it.
Constant Medical Data Gathering
In the past, if a patient needed vital signs monitored, such as the heart rate, or blood pressure, this required a person to be “hooked up” to large, bulky, delicate electronics that monitored the vital signs. That data was relayed to a central nurse’s station in a hospital so that appropriate staff could keep an eye on things, and react if anything went wrong.
Today, there are mobile medical devices, that are much smaller, and can easily be worn, or moved into a person’s home. However, they are now also wireless, not requiring thick cables directly connected to a monitoring station. This information is then sent, constantly, or as required to medical professionals so they can still get a good feel for a patient’s progress, or be notified if something goes wrong.
The Medically Home Group is a pioneer in this new type of patient-centric care, and the virtual hospital concept can only continue to make use of the Internet in new, innovative ways.