Most commonly cited under served population is living in rural areas. People living in cities think that rural areas residents are few in number but in fact, more than half of the population of Pakistan is living in rural areas. For rural area residents,health services are simply far away to be utilized, Tele-health can be their link to better health services.
Yet another population that tele-health can help build a connection to people living in areas geographically isolated from health services.
Distance can be a temperory situation. As we see military personnel typically have ample access to services when they reside on base. But the situation changes when they move abroad or in the field. To keep them in touch with their medical advisors all the time, tele-health is a good solution.
Another isolated population is prisoners. The number of prisoners has continued to increase over the last few years and shows no sign of abatement. Among the many health problems are the numerous cases of infectious diseases and numerous prisoners with mental health problems . Surveys indicate that anywhere from 7-15% of inmates have mental disorders, with about a third of these disorders being different kinds of depression.Telehealth services provide a way to efficiently, safely, and more cheaply bridge the gap between health professionals and prisoners.
For groups that are home bound, telehealth is an ideal solution to a complex problem. The elderly are one group that fits this category. The geriatric population is on the rise, and they typically have a higher need for all types of health services. Although many elderly might live in an urban area, their infirmities often make it difficult to travel even short distances and many are home bound. Distance technologies can help to address this problem in a way no other solution can.
Elderly are not the only population who are isolated because of medical reasons. Several specific mental disorders, such as agoraphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, keep people isolated and bound to their home or a relatively small geographical area. As is the case with the elderly, telehealth provides a way to intervene in a situation that normally would probably go untreated. In fact, this technology might actually provide a better way to facilitate the treatment of these disorders than a typical face-to-face delivery mode. One of the more empirically validated types of treatments for phobias is systematic desensitization . Telehealth technologies would enable professionals to intervene at a less intrusive level and systematically desensitize the client through not only mediating less intrusive communication technologies, but computer modeling and virtual reality technologies as well. In this case telehealth may not only provide a more effective way of reaching the patient but also of treating the patient.
Telehealth helps to redistribute services to a wider variety of people and reach populations that have formerly been under served. Tied into these two objectives is a decrease in costs. Telehealth increases costs in terms of equipment and connection fees, but decreases costs in other less obvious ways. Opportunity costs, such as travel time and lost work due to travel, are decreased for both consumers and providers. Costs of specialized services are reduced due to increased access and a lesser need to retain a specialist in an area where they might not have been fully utilized. Telehealth, because of its increased ease of access and decreased opportunity costs, increases the likelihood that a consumer will seek treatment earlier. Earlier treatment often leads to greater prevention and reduced long term care costs . . All of these points suggest that telehealth might provide a viable solution to the problems of distribution of resources, unequal access, and escalating costs.