Telehealth delivery care is an integrated use of automated systems, such as telecommunication technology and digital information systems, to promote public healthcare. Remote healthcare is provided by both clinical or non-clinical approaches and cuts across nursing activities such as public health education and health administration. For instance, the Intensive Ambulatory Care Program has improved home-based care for patients with chronic cases in the United States (Kaplan, 2020). In the telehealth care delivery system, nurses are mandated with the primary care roles to ensure their patients’ long-term wellness. The caregivers use technological tools to monitor, collect data, and provide intensive, multidisciplinary care for patients in rural and underserved regions. Following the popularity of telehealth services, it is essential to address ethical issues arising from the technology to obtain a balance between quality healthcare and profitability.
The confidentiality of a patient’s information is a serious ethical issue in the nursing profession. A balance between data privacy and information acquisition through disparate technological sources is not readily achievable. Electronic data collection and transmission are increasing the vulnerability of patient data hacking. Cybersecurity crimes have increased due to the failure of telehealth information systems. The residential drug treatment program, an initiative under the telehealth program, has led to sensitive patient information data exposure, reducing the level of trust in the digital program in the United States (Kaplan, 2020). Telehealth involves the interaction between electronic devices and patients. The quality of information acquired through digital communication is poor concerning in-patient medical services. Whether the healthcare shift from physical to electronic has led to data breaching is a severe issue affecting telehealth.
A dilemma has been surrounding the primary goal of telehealth on whether it is profit making adventure or an initiative to promote public health. Though adopting telehealth technology has increased the number of patients being attended to in one instant, the quality of health services and efficiency of the program has been questioned over time. Bioengineers and software developers have been perceived to commercialize the primary caregiving role by heavily advertising the benefits of telehealth over human care. The remote patient monitoring program and virtual care centers have been used in the hospital with slight notable patient improvement (Groom et al., 2021). Efficiency in care delivery has not improved proportionally to the investment adopted in healthcare facilities, leading to ethical issues behind the adoption of telehealth systems. Many patients have not been informed of the risks of adopting telehealth technology and hence have high expectations of the program, causing disappointments. For instance, the intelligence counseling has proved inadequate compared to human caregiving. The quality of responses has been referred to as a lack of emotions vital to patient recovery.
In conclusion, adopting the telehealth care program has reduced the nurse-patient ratio and enhanced the quality of health in marginalized regions. Programs such as remote monitoring systems and electronic follow-ups have managed chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension. However, overdependence on digital information systems has resulted in patient data breaches for malicious purposes. In addition, the emotional health care required by patients cannot be guaranteed by automated machines; hence telehealth has proven inadequate. Addressing the issues of data privacy and patient satisfaction in integrated technology would improve quality healthcare facilities. Due to serious ethical issues, technology should be used as an auxiliary to contact health care in the nursing profession.
Groom, L. L., McCarthy, M. M., Stimpfel, A. W., & Brody, A. A. (2021). Telemedicine and telehealth in nursing homes: An integrative review. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 22(9), 1784-1801.
Kaplan, B. (2020). Revisiting health information technology ethical, legal, and social issues and evaluation: Telehealth/telemedicine and COVID-19. International Journal of Medical Informatics, p. 143, 104239.