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Telenursing

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Telenursing The Future Is Now

It is true of many rural and remote locations that insufficient access to health care provision results in lower health status when compared to their urban counterparts. Advanced communication technology offers a method for addressing this problem. Nevertheless, examination of this technology indicates that while there is a great deal of potential, implementing telemedicine also encompasses many barriers. In addressing these barriers and associated issues, it is also clear that safeguards are required to protect patients and ensure that the standard defining quality care provisions are upheld. Telemedicine (TM) is defined as the "practice of 'medicine at a distance,'" indicating that it refers to the delivery of health care services in a manner that goes beyond geographical boundaries (Lateff, 2011, p. 17). TM encompasses "diagnosis, treatment, prevention, continuing education, research and evaluation" (Lateff, 2011, p. 17). TM makes it possible for health care practitioners to provide care and share knowledge and expertise via telecommunications and information technology regardless of patients' physical location (Lateff, 2011). TM is differentiated from "telecare," which is defined as the "provision of nursing and continuing support to patient at a distance," and "telehealth," which is defined as "public health services delivered at a distance to people who are not necessarily unwell" (Lateff, 2011, pp. 17-18). The utilization of telecommunication technology does not in any way negate the ethical and professional responsibilities of health care practitioners, such as those that pertain to "record-keeping, provision of physical examination and confidentiality" (Lateff, 2011, p. 18). TM practice concerns and risks include that tele-consultations may go beyond the abilities and knowledge of the practitioner; quality of…...

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