Over the past couple of years, you’ve probably found yourself doing a lot more online or over the phone than ever before.
In addition to things like paying bills and online banking, you probably connect with friends via telephone and video chat, do more online shopping, and might even have your therapy or coaching sessions conducted remotely.
Although it’s slightly trickier to take care of physical health needs via the internet, that is rapidly becoming a digital practice as well—when and where it’s feasible.
Before exploring this guide, we think you’ll love Quenza’s $1, 30-day trial. Quenza’s e-health toolkit will help you maximize your impact as an online practitioner, and will give you everything you need to deliver professional, engaging, HIPAA-compliant e-health solutions efficiently and effectively from anywhere.
What is E-Health & Why Is It Important?
There are differing definitions of e-health, depending on who you ask.
According to the World Health Organization:
E-health is the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies in support of the health and health-related fields, including healthcare, health surveillance and health education, knowledge and research.
If you ask the experts at the Journal of Medical Internet Research, you’ll get this definition:
“E-health is an emerging field in the intersection of medical informatics, public health and business, referring to health services and information delivered or enhanced through the Internet and related technologies. In a broader sense, the term characterizes not only a technical development, but also a state-of-mind, a way of thinking, an attitude, and a commitment for networked, global thinking, to improve health care locally, regionally, and worldwide by using information and communication technology”
While these definitions are more comprehensive, they’re also unwieldy and tough to work with for those who aren’t researchers in the field.
To put it simply, e-health is the use of digital methods to meet health needs.
Digital Health Technologies: 5 Examples
What kinds of digital methods or technologies are used in e-health?
There are several kinds! The technologies can be divided into many different categories, including:
- Software as a Medical Device (e.g., treatment planning software, software intended for diagnosis)
- Software Functions/Mobile Health (e.g., apps to help people manage their health and wellness)
- Health Information Technology (e.g., electronic health record (EHR) systems)
- Wearable Devices/Wireless Devices (e.g., smartwatches, vitals monitoring)
- Telemedicine (e.g., providing routine check-ins via telephone or video chat, platforms for monitoring and improving health)
Basically, digital technologies can influence or improve just about every aspect of healthcare, from making appointments online to attending check-ins via video chat, from tracking your health by wearing a Fitbit to monitoring it with an online platform.
The idea is that we can use these technologies to make it easier to get healthy and stay healthy, as individuals and as a society.
5 Proven Benefits of Telehealth
Although digital health and telehealth are fairly new concepts in the area of health, and they have a relatively short history to back them up, we are already seeing tons of applications and benefits.
According to the FDA, digital health is expected to:
- Reduce inefficiencies
- Improve access
- Reduce costs
- Increase quality
- Make medicine more personalized for patients
The move to telemedicine is still happening, and as such, there is still much we don’t know for sure, but so far it looks like telemedicine has had the following positive impacts:
- Reducing spending through decreases in problems like medication misuse, unnecessary emergency department visits, and prolonged hospitalizations.
- Providing access to resources and care for patients in rural areas or areas with a shortage of providers.
- Greater overall efficiency.
- Reduction in patient travel and wait times.
- Greater patient satisfaction through better access to care, greater convenience, and reduced stress.
Overall, the ability to provide at least some health-related services online seems to be a welcome opportunity for both providers and patients.
It results in lower costs for patients, as they don’t need to spend money on travel or take quite as much time off to attend appointments or communicate with their providers. It also results in lower overall costs for providers and insurance companies, as telehealth visits are generally far less expensive than office visits.
It also offers greater convenience for patients and providers and can streamline the process for everyone involved.
However, it’s not all benefits; there are also some downsides.
8 Challenges & How to Solve Them
Along with the benefits of telehealth come some barriers as well. There are things to consider and challenges to overcome related to providing health and wellness services online.
- Licensure issues: telehealth gets into a sticky situation when providers are providing services to patients in other counties, states, or countries; since different areas have different licensure requirements, it’s complicated to provide care across these borders.
- Patient privacy and confidentiality: with the use of digital methods, there is a greater risk of confidentiality being breached and private data being stolen or shared (e.g., platforms and video chats can be hacked).
- Data accuracy and misdiagnosis: there is a risk of data being inaccurately transmitted and used in the diagnosis and treatment of patients.
- Difficult provider-patient relationships: it’s more difficult to establish positive provider-patient relationships via digital methods; in addition, some states and territories require in-person meetings for particular types of care or for diagnosis.
- Medical liability: informed consent, practice standards, and principles of malpractice are murky when it comes to telehealth; professional liability policies may not cover telehealth.
- Fraud and abuse: telehealth may offer greater opportunities for providers to commit fraud and abuse, like getting “kickbacks” from providers or facilities in which they have a financial interest (which different areas may have different laws regarding).
- Prescribing of controlled substances: it’s difficult to follow proper protocols and laws regarding the prescription of controlled substances over digital communication methods.
- Reimbursement: insurance companies and government health programs are not as quick to adjust to telehealth as providers and patients are, meaning that reimbursement is not always clear and not always in full.
The solutions to these barriers are not all straightforward, and they’re not all within an individual provider’s control. For example, many of them are related to policies and regulations at the state or federal level. With time and more years of telehealth experience, the legal environment should receive the updates it needs to effectively deal with these barriers.
However, there are some challenges that can be addressed with fairly simple solutions. For instance, one effective way to solve some of the problems related to telehealth (e.g., privacy concerns, difficulty establishing good relationships) is to choose an appropriate platform.
What is the Best E-Health App?
If you’re a provider, health and wellness coach, or in any other telehealth-related profession, you probably already know that it’s vital to have reliable and effective digital tools to help your patients or clients.
The best e-health app for you will depend on you: your practice, your needs, and your clients. You’ll need to figure out what tools and applications would work best with your techniques, and what would be easiest and most convenient for you and your clients.
However, there is one platform that has been proven to be a safe, secure, and reliable resource for coaches and providers: Quenza.
How To Use The Quenza Platform
The Quenza platform makes it easy to communicate with your clients, share resources and activities with them, track their progress, and expand your practice’s capacity.
It’s an online platform that is available on all browser-enabled devices, which makes it simple and convenient to use.
All you need to do is navigate to the website and log in, and you’ll have all the tools Quenza has to offer at your fingertips.
You will have to instruct your clients to install the app on their smart phones. You can then chat with your client in a secure environment, and send them therapy activities.
6 Tools Included in Quenza Software
Quenza offers a suite of helpful tools that you can use to provide the best in services to your clients.
With Quenza, you have access to the following tools:
- The Activity Builder: the activity builder is a drag-and-drop tool that you can use to create activities, assessments, exercises, evaluation forms, informational resources, and more.
- The Expansion Library of Activities: Quenza’s library of activities—which you will have full access to—includes tons of evidence-based activities for a wide variety of purposes; you can use them as they are or adapt them for your client’s specific needs.
- The Pathway Builder: once you have your activities created and/or adapted and ready to go, you can use the pathway builder to put them together in just the right sequence. You can create multiple pathways for multiple groups of clients.
- The Client Profile: it’s easy to stay organized when you can keep all client information in one convenient place. You can even create groups of clients to improve your organization.
- The Client App: the Quenza app gives your clients a way to stay in touch and on track, no matter where they are. They don’t need a laptop available to take assessments, complete activities, or communicate with you.
- Quenza Chat: the chat feature makes it a snap to reach out to clients. They can use the Quenza app to respond directly to you.
These features make it easy for you to create great content, share it with your clients, and keep in touch with them during your time working towards the client’s goals.
Improving Client Engagement with Quenza
Quenza helps to keep your clients engaged by capitalizing on four areas that affect engagement:
- Personalization: Quenza offers the ability to personalize the resources and activities your client receives from you, making their pathway to greater health one that is specifically designed for them.
- Access: with this platform, your clients have greater access than ever; they have a wealth of information, resources, and tools at their fingertips with the client app.
- Commitment: clients who feel a sense of commitment towards their own health goals are much more likely to succeed in striving towards them; the app provides greater access to the resources they need and greater ability to communicate with their provider, boosting their sense of agency and empowerment.
- Therapeutic alliance: the relationship between provider and client/patient is perhaps the most vital aspect of an individual’s journey towards greater health, and Quenza makes it easy to keep in touch, to monitor progress, and to encourage bi-directional feedback and shared decision-making.
Like any good digital tool, Quenza offers ways to streamline and enhance your practice, which results in a better experience and better outcomes for clients.
E-health is here to stay, and it’s only expanding as technology advances.
To stay on top of the rapidly changing world of e-health, make sure to keep up to date on the tools and features available that you can use to bolster your efficiency and boost client engagement.
Keep an eye on our blog for more practical tips and tools.
We hope you found this resource helpful. Don’t forget to begin your $1, 30-day trial of Quenza.
With full access to Quenza’s e-health toolkit, you’ll have everything you need to deliver high-caliber, personalized health solutions more effectively, enhancing the positive results that you bring your clients.
- ^ World Health Organization. (2005). Ninth plenary meeting: Resolutions and decisions. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/20378/WHA58_28-en.pdf
- ^ Eysenbach, G. (2001). What is e-health? Journal of Medical Internet Research, 3(2), e20.
- ^ Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). What is digital health? Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/digital-health-center-excellence/what-digital-health
- ^ Gajarawala, S. N., & Pelkowski, J. N. (2021). Telehealth benefits and barriers. Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 17(2), 218-221.