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 COVID-19 pandemic effectively changed the healthcare delivery system. One of the more prominent changes it forced was the widespread adoption of telehealth practices to minimize the spread of disease. In our post-pandemic society, its integration into our health system seems permanent as it has proven to improve healthcare accessibility. Admittedly, my scope of understanding of telehealth was limited to video conferences. While that is a prevalent form of telehealth, the modalities in which the term is applicable offer more extensive benefits to meet societal healthcare demands. In addition to video calls, other methods of telehealth can include the transmission of diagnostic test results and imaging to other members of the interdisciplinary team, called "store and forward" by the Center for Connected Health Policy, patient health portals that allow for text-based communications with providers, and monitoring of patients remotely via portable health assessment tools (Public Health Institute, 2021). When these services are considered, the vast amount of benefits that telehealth offers become apparent. Populations of patients who previously could not access certain specialist providers due to location are now presented with options to receive care (Public Health Institute, 2021). Geriatric patients who would otherwise require care at a nursing home can stay in their homes longer and avoid hospitalization or readmittance, thanks to remote patient monitoring (Public Health Institute, 2021). The impact of telehealth on patient care regarding equity, harm, accessibility, and engagement is poorly understood and needs further research (Cantor et al., 2023). With the prevalence and demand of telehealth, that need will likely be fulfilled sooner rather than later as more data becomes available for in-depth analysis.

As was previously stated, the various telehealth modalities provide opportunities to improve patient care and equity. An example is rural communities that lack access to various health experts. By utilizing telehealth services, they gain access to expert consultation that would be otherwise inaccessible. However, with the opportunity for benefit comes the risk of harm. A big concern is miscommunication due to poor quality or poor implementation of telehealth (Khoong et al., 2022). For example, audio-only communications are disadvantaged by the lack of non-verbal cues (Khoong et al., 2022). While telehealth can afford more accessibility to providers, it can also hinder the effective examination of the patient due to relying on patients to use self-monitoring equipment like scales, blood pressure cuffs, and manual pulse counting (Khoong, et al., 2022). This can have negative implications on healthcare providers’ ability to diagnose conditions effectively (Khoong, et al., 2022).

Social media is a widespread tool used in modern society. Its prevalence has impacted the modern health system in many ways, some positive and others negative. It has afforded an opportunity for health experts to network and share information and knowledge more easily with not only one another but also with the public (Patrick et al., 2022). Conversely, it has made it much more challenging for the lay public to consume reliable health information. With the abundance of information available because of the internet, misinformation, both intentional and unintentional, has become more common (Patrick et al., 2022).


Cantor, A. G., Nelson, H. D., Pappas, M., Atchison, C., Hatch, B., Huguet, N., Flynn, B., & McDonagh, M. (2023). Telehealth for women’s preventive services for Reproductive Health and Intimate Partner Violence: A Comparative Effectiveness Review. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 38(7), 1735–1743.

Khoong, E. C., Sharma, A. E., Gupta, K., Adler-Milstein, J., & Sarkar, U. (2022). The abrupt expansion of ambulatory telemedicine: Implications for patient safety. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 37(5), 1270–1274.

Patrick, M., Venkatesh, R. D., & Stukus, D. R. (2022). Social Media and its impact on Health Care. Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, 128(2), 139–145.

Public Health Institute. (2021, April 16). What is telehealth?. CCHP.

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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