How does telehealth improve access to care for vulnerable populations and assist healthcare professionals in meeting the needs of this population? Discuss how access to telehealth services improves patient care and decreases health disparities.

Identify potential issues that could impact patient safety. Briefly discuss the effects of social media on our healthcare system in your response.


How Telehealth Improves Access to Care for the Vulnerable Groups
Telehealth is pivotal in enhancing access to care for vulnerable populations and supporting healthcare professionals in meeting their unique needs. Firstly, telehealth eliminates geographical barriers by leveraging digital communication tools, enabling patients with limited mobility or residing in remote areas to receive timely medical assistance (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2021). This technology also addresses socio-economic disparities by offering cost-effective alternatives to in-person visits. Moreover, telehealth enhances healthcare outreach to marginalized communities, such as those with disabilities or lower socio-economic status, who may face difficulties accessing traditional healthcare facilities. Healthcare professionals benefit from telehealth by gaining flexibility in delivering care, enabling efficient monitoring of chronic conditions, and facilitating timely interventions. Ultimately, telehealth contributes to equitable healthcare access and empowers vulnerable populations and healthcare providers to bridge gaps in healthcare delivery.
How Telehealth Improves Patient Care and Reduce Health Disparities
Access to telehealth services significantly improves patient care and reduces health disparities by overcoming transportation barriers. Telehealth provides convenient and timely medical consultations, ensuring patients, especially those in underserved or remote areas, can access expert care without travel constraints (Saeed & Masters, 2021). This technology facilitates ongoing monitoring of chronic conditions, preventive care, and mental health support, thereby minimizing complications. Ultimately, telehealth promotes early intervention and health management, contributing to more equitable and effective healthcare outcomes by reaching vulnerable populations, including those with limited mobility or inadequate resources (Saeed & Masters, 2021).

Impacts of Telehealth on Patient Safety
Despite its benefits, telehealth may negatively impact patient safety, and some of the negative impacts include inadequate technical infrastructure leading to communication breakdowns, misdiagnoses due to limited physical examination, privacy breaches compromising patient data, and challenges in obtaining urgent care (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2021). Additionally, disparities in digital literacy among patients might hinder effective interaction with telehealth platforms, potentially resulting in misunderstandings or incomplete information sharing, affecting the overall quality of care and patient safety.
Effects of Social Media on Healthcare
Social media has profoundly influenced the healthcare system by providing a platform for health information dissemination, patient engagement, and networking among professionals. While it enhances health awareness and facilitates communication, it also presents challenges, such as the spread of misinformation and breaches of patient privacy (Chuo et al., 2020). Balancing its benefits and drawbacks remains crucial for effectively integrating social media into healthcare practices.

Chuo, J., Macy, M. L., & Lorch, S. A. (2020). Strategies for Evaluating Telehealth. Pediatrics, 146(5), e20201781.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. (2021). Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge. In Google Books. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Saeed, S. A., & Masters, R. M. (2021). Disparities in Health Care and the Digital Divide. Current Psychiatry Reports, 23(9).


In responding your peers, identify examples of telehealth currently used in our healthcare system, citing your source. Please expand on the topic of telehealth by discussing its impact on improving access and patient safety. Do you agree with its use? Why or why not. Please explain.


The use of telehealth services greatly expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to use telehealth allowed patients to obtain health care from the safety of their home and lessened the risk of becoming infected with COVID. Mayo Clinic (2022) defines telehealth as “the use of digital information and communication technologies to access health care services remotely and manage your health care” (para. 3). These technologies include mobile devices and tablets (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Mayo Clinic further lists goals of telehealth including providing care for patients living in remote areas, keeping patients safe from infectious diseases, primary care for multiple conditions, offers services for those with lack of transportation or difficulty ambulating, and one on one communication with nurses, providers, and specialists who can offer advice and manage care (Mayo Clinic, 2022). Other benefits of telehealth are the use of remote monitoring in managing chronic conditions, virtual visits, collaboration with other providers, patient portals, and personal health apps (Mayo Clinic, 2022).

Telehealth also improves access to care for vulnerable populations. Some of these vulnerable populations may not be able to properly access health care due to lack of insurance, inaccessibility, lack of transportation, long commutes, work, or family obligations, and living in rural areas (Ash Wellness, n.d.). Telehealth works to remove these barriers vulnerable populations face. Telehealth and remote monitoring are beneficial for elderly patients as there are less risk of events such as falls when traveling to appointments, providing service to elderly patients in rural areas, personalized management and reminders, and decreases crowing in facilities (Ash Wellness, n.d.). Patients that live in rural areas may have limited access or unreliable transportation and there is a shortage of providers and specialists within these communities further contributing to lack of health care access (Milburn, n.d.). Telehealth allows these patients to connect with providers virtually without having to travel, which allows them to get the appropriate health care needed (Milburn, n.d.). No matter where people live, their age, or other circumstances, telehealth enables vulnerable populations to achieve high quality care.

There are potential patient safety concerns that need to be considered when discussing telehealth services. For one, diagnostic errors may be made due to poor communication between patient and provider, inadequate medical history provided, limited physical examinations, and reliance on patients to perform self-diagnostic measures at home (O’Malley et al., 2022). Also, there is a risk for medication errors due to poor communication, variation in health literacy which could jeopardize medication reconciliation (O’Malley et al., 2022). Lastly, exchange of electronic health information between patients, providers, and specialists may be difficult in rural communities (RHI Hub, n.d.). This prevents the healthcare team from having the needed information to provide safe and high-quality care to the patient.

Social media also plays a role in patient safety in healthcare. Social media has the potential to improve patient safety through promoting health and wellbeing and providing alerts on potential health and community risks. However, drawbacks of social media include potential breach of privacy, false marketing tactics, misinformation, and self-diagnosis (Digitalis, 2022). Social media has the potential to improve healthcare for patients but must be used correctly and cautiously.


Ash Wellness. (n.d.). How does telehealth improve access to care for vulnerable populations?

Digitalis. (2022). Pros and cons of social media in healthcare (2022 Guide).

Mayo Clinic. (2022). Telehealth: Technology meets health care.

Milburn, D. (n.d.). How telehealth is helping underserved populations in healthcare. Health Recovery Solutions.

O’Malley, G., Shaikh, U., & Marcin, J. (2022). Telehealth and patient safety. Patient Safety Network.,patients%20and%20their%20families%20to

Rural Health Information Hub (RHI Hub). (n.d.). Barriers to telehealth in rural areas.

Required Resources to use for this assignment:

Textbook: Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge, Chapters 7 and 18.

As one the first healthcare systems to adopt telehealth, the VA healthcare system has advanced health information technology in use today to support veterans across the country and the world.
This website offers short video clips, research articles, and other information that you may find useful in your reading and review of the topic in this module.

Additional Support (Optional):
This website offers a review of the American Nurses Association statements of the use of telehealth. Near the bottom of the page, click on ‘Position Statements and Principles’ and read the the ANA Core Principles on Connected Health.
This website offers the American Nurses Association’s review of social media principles.




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