Graduating into Telehealth

The world is changing fast and it needs solution quickly yet without compromising on quality. At the same time, there is no way to ignore the emerging technology that shows immense potential to assist the clinicians as well as the educators (Maheu et al. , 2004). Accordingly, the sectors like healthcare and education are gradually embracing the online communication system that has already shown enough promise to become an instrument for providing faster and hassle-free healthcare and education solutions.

This study therefore presents a vision of education for our Behavioral Health Organization, before providing its justification, underpinning possible barriers before it, and suggesting the ways to achieve the desired outcome, i. e. , establishing the company as a premier online behavior health and education community of the future. Background The professionals in the fold of our Behavioral Health Organization hold PhD degrees and MPH (Master of Public Health) with an orientation on Transtheoretical Model to utilize it in a broad range of health behavioral practices, social issues, and organizational change processes.

Theoretically our company seeks to exploit science to contribute to the sustenance and development of humans and thus a part of it is devoted to research in the areas like chronic pain, depression, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), and in other kinds of trauma to develop evidence-based programs on behavior change science. Accordingly it recognizes the value of technological innovation and potential of collaboration with the government and appropriate agencies, while keeping an eye on quality enhancement and cost control.

Companies like Pro-Change Behavior Systems, Inc. (pro-change, 2010), who are already offering online health behavior solutions, belong to the same rank and file. However, our company continues to practice under traditional settings, where our professionals meet the clients physically over an exclusive session of 45 minutes. Such practice adds transportation cost to the treatment expenditure, besides adding to establishment cost of our organization.

The current practice in traditional pattern also involves certain limitations, such as the clients failing to comprehensively explain their problems in a formal setting, or missing the exact date of prescheduled date of checking due to sudden preoccupations. While the first instance creates an obstacle for our professionals to get a clear picture of the problem, the second instance hampers the process of healing.

Apart from that, many patients from rural areas cannot visit our center regularly and it becomes difficult to disseminate the necessary education regarding pain management to the patients within the stipulated 45 minutes of interaction. Presently we do not have any patients from distant region, let alone any patient from abroad. Amid the above environment, our company now wishes to refine and expand its practice by exploiting telehealth and telemedicine practices, besides utilizing technology in education practices.

Vision 2015 It can be assumed that the increasing usage of digital communication gadgets like laptops, digicams, video recorders, mobile phones, electronic screens etc. will only facilitate better operations in telehealth field. Internet alone provides several web-based applications for communication, such as multimedia-enabled instant messaging system, discussion boards, group discussion forum, SMS to mobile system, and Email, where each of them can be exploited to meet specific client, practitioner, and stakeholder needs.

However, adopting online practice requires attaining several steps and thus this study breaks down the interim period (2010 to 2015) into three phases. First phase (2010-2011) This will be the period of conceptualization and preparation of the new projects, which will prioritize survey, research, and development. Thus this phase would start with evidence-based feasibility study that would quantify the prospect of telehealth and E-learning projects. Budgeting, Web site planning, and initial staff-training are the tasks that would be completed within the first half of this phase and the web site would be up and running by mid 2011.

The remaining period would be utilized on formulating the marketing strategy, branding, and creating mailing lists. Second phase (2012-2013) The company would begin its online venture with what they are currently expert at, i. e. , providing healthcare solutions in the areas like PTSD, chronic pain, depression or stress, etc. , because some success is required before ramification of services. For that matter company would focus on pooling its traditional clientele in online environment by providing more services to them at less cost. This would generate a WOM (word-of-mouth) effect, which is essential in this sphere of business.

It is around this time the research wing on education service will be incorporated. Third Phase (2014-2015) The business on the chosen healthcare niche is expected to become stable by 2013, and the possible design and strategy on the new venture like online education and research service would be launched by 2014. By the early period of 2014, the organization will be different than today on several accounts, such as providing online solutions instead of in-person solution, attending more patients in less time, dealing with global clientele, providing knowledge solutions, and using electronic money transfer system.

It is expected that the company would be able to provide at least the following services to the global audience around mid-2015: • Health Package o Health Risk Elimination Programs ? Depression ? Pain Management ? Stress • Job Stress • Loan Stress • Vocational Stress • Loneliness ? Anger & Violence • Domestic Violence • Teen Violence • Juvenile Delinquency ? Trauma o Health Development Programs ? Diet ? Exercise ? Medication ? Developing Pro-Active Habits ? Abstaining from Drinking & Smoking ? Exercising • Education Package o Courses on Behavior and Attitude Building

? Leadership ? Motivation ? Corporate Social Responsibility ? Employee Engagement & Retention Management ? Change Management o CBT Courses o Self-help Courses on ? Chronic Pain Management ? PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) ? ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) Justification of Vision Utility Value of Telehealth in the Chosen Healthcare Sector According to Sjolund et al. (2009), most of the at-risk individuals exposed to various forms of trauma require constant care, which is a costly affair under traditional settings.

He also observed that even after breaking various barriers (e. g. cultural, logistical and psychological), the patients often do not get state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatments, whereas telehealth can eliminate such lack of accessibility (p. 691). Other researchers opine that telehealth may help to redress stigmatizing, the prime barrier to obtaining care, since it can afford to focus on the training aspects more than the therapeutic ones (Lange et al. , 2003; Litz et al. , 2004).

For example, it could train the patients on how to manage anxiety triggers and play an important role in reintroducing them in the community, which has already been proved through randomized controlled trial of an internet-based treatment for PTSD conducted by Knaevelsrud (Knaevelsrud and Maercker, 2007). He studied a mixed sample of 96 participants who had experienced traumatic events, before finding telehealth system as highly instrumental in bringing significant and enduring improvements in post-traumatic stress symptoms, anxiety and depressed mood.

Alongside, the level of self-efficacy was also found increased to a considerable level (Knaevelsrud et al. , 2007). Other researchers have also found internet-based self-management of Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT) as a hassle-free and effective way of treating a large number of trauma survivors suffering from unmet needs and barriers (Litz et al. , 2007). These evidences show that telehealth is unparallel in providing certain benefits to the patients, such as providing comfort zone, eliminating the accessibility of state-of-the-art technology, and reducing the cost treatment.

The researchers have observed how online practice has enhanced the scope of exploiting the concept of therapeutic alliance proposed by Bordin (1979), which refers to the collaborative aspect of the therapist-client relationship and has a huge bearing on the healing process. According to Bordin’s model, there are three clauses that should be attended thoroughly, such as a) an agreement between therapist and the patient regarding the goal/s of the treatment, b) an agreement on the tasks required to accomplish such goal/s, and c) formation of an emotional bond between therapist and patient to smoothen the entire proceedings.

Such mutual and catalytic reaction between patient and therapist normally leads to an emergent design (Green and Herget, 1989) that fastens the healing process. Online practice has more scopes of comprehensively covering those preconditions, as it takes little time to communicate through online, while keeping the client in his/her comfort zone, i. e. , home setting.

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