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Virtual Nurse Jobs and Telehealth: Help More People in More Places

 What are virtual nursing and telehealth?

Virtual nursing and telehealth are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have different meanings. Telehealth is a broader term that encompasses the use of technology to deliver healthcare services remotely. Virtual nursing is a subset of telehealth.

  • Telehealth includes telemedicine, which is the diagnosis and treatment of patients via video or phone, as well as other services, such as remote patient monitoring, health education, and data sharing.
  • Virtual nursing is a type of telehealth that involves the use of nurses to provide care, support, and education to patients via digital platforms.

Virtual nurse jobs and telehealth jobs will likely become more widespread in the coming years. These innovative healthcare solutions have the potential to improve access, quality, and efficiency of care for people around the world, especially those who do not currently have adequate healthcare options.

Virtual nurse jobs and telehealth provide both nurses and patients flexibility in the healthcare process.

Differences between virtual nursing and telehealth

While both virtual nursing and telehealth aim to improve access and quality of care, they have some key differences. Virtual nursing is focused on the role, scope, and practice of nurses, who perform tasks such as triage, assessment, care coordination, medication management, chronic disease management, and patient education.

Telehealth, on the other hand, can involve other healthcare professionals such as physicians, pharmacists, therapists, and social workers. Telehealth can encompass many different health services, such as diagnosis, prescription, counseling, and referrals.

Virtual nursing is more likely to involve synchronous communication, which means that the nurse and the patient interact in real time. Telehealth often uses asynchronous communication, with information exchanged by provider and patient at different times, which may be more convenient.

Opportunities in virtual nursing and telehealth

Virtual nursing and telehealth offer a variety of jobs for nurses and other healthcare professionals who want to work remotely or flexibly. The following are some jobs in virtual nursing and telehealth:

  • A telehealth nurse is a registered nurse who provides care, support, and education to patients via phone, video, or online platforms. These nurses can work for hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, insurance companies, or even companies specializing in telehealth.
  • A virtual nurse educator is a registered nurse who teaches, trains, and mentors other nurses or healthcare professionals on how to use telehealth technology and best practices. These nurses can work in academic institutions, healthcare organizations, or telehealth companies. They design, develop, and deliver online courses, webinars, simulations, and workshops.
  • A virtual nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse who can diagnose and treat patients via telehealth platforms. These individuals can work for primary care practices, specialty clinics, urgent care centers, or telehealth companies. They can prescribe medications, order tests, and refer patients to specialists.
  • A telehealth coordinator is a healthcare professional who oversees and manages a healthcare organization’s telehealth program. Coordinators can work for hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, or telehealth companies. These roles plan, implement, and evaluate telehealth services, policies, and procedures or coordinate telehealth teams, equipment, and resources.
  • A telehealth technician is a healthcare professional who provides technical support and assistance to telehealth providers and patients. These technicians work for hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, or telehealth companies. They can install, troubleshoot, and maintain telehealth equipment and software or help patients and providers with telehealth access and usage.

Benefits of virtual nurse jobs and telehealth

Virtual nurse jobs and telehealth jobs can benefit healthcare organizations and patients in many ways, such as by improving:

  • Access to care by helping connect patients in rural areas, underserved communities, or care deserts with needed health care services. Telehealth can also reduce travel time and costs and increase convenience and comfort for patients.
  • Quality of care by improving patient outcomes, satisfaction, and engagement and enhancing care coordination, continuity, and communication among health care providers and patients. Telehealth can also enable early detection, prevention, and management of chronic conditions and complications.
  • Efficiency of care by reducing healthcare costs, utilization, and waste. Telehealth can also increase productivity, capacity, and revenue for healthcare organizations while optimizing the use of healthcare resources, such as staff, equipment, and space.

How virtual nursing and telehealth can help patients in care deserts

Care deserts are areas where there is a lack of access to adequate health care services, including primary care, specialty care, and mental health care. Care deserts exist due to factors such as geographic isolation, socioeconomic barriers, provider and clinician shortages, or health system fragmentation. The lack of care in these areas can affect the health and well-being of millions of people, especially those who are low-income, uninsured, elderly, or have chronic conditions.

Virtual nursing and telehealth can connect patients in care deserts with needed health care by:

  • Expanding the reach and availability of healthcare providers — Virtual nursing and telehealth can enable healthcare providers to deliver care to patients who are in remote or hard-to-reach areas without the need for physical travel or relocation. They can also increase the number and diversity of healthcare providers who can offer care to patients, such as specialists, nurse practitioners, or behavioral health professionals.
  • Enhancing the accessibility and affordability of healthcare services — Virtual nursing and telehealth can make healthcare services more accessible and affordable for patients who face financial, transportation, or other barriers to accessing care. They can reduce or eliminate the costs of travel, lodging, or missed work for patients. They can also lower the costs of healthcare delivery for providers by reducing overhead, duplication, and inefficiency.
  • Empowering patients and communities — Virtual nursing and telehealth can empower patients and communities to take more control and responsibility for their own health and wellness by more easily providing patients information, education, and support to manage their health conditions, adhere to their treatment plans, and make informed decisions. They can also engage and mobilize community members, leaders, and organizations to participate and collaborate in improving the health of their populations.

Technology and AI applications for telehealth

Virtual nurse jobs and telehealth can leverage a range of telehealth technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), to provide better care. For example, AI could be useful for the following:

  • Electronic health records (EHRs) are digital records of patients’ health information, contain medical history, diagnoses, medications, allergies, lab results, and vital signs. EHRs can be accessed and shared by healthcare providers and patients through telehealth platforms. They could also be analyzed by AI to identify patterns and trends in patients’ health status, needs, and preferences, indicating a need for specific types of care within a population group.
  • Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is the use of devices, sensors, or apps to collect and transmit patients’ health data, such as blood pressure, heart rate, glucose level, or weight by healthcare providers and patients through telehealth platforms. RPM can help monitor patients’ health conditions, track their progress, and alert them or their providers to any changes or issues. It can also use AI to predict patterns and trends for individual patients’ health outcomes, risks, and behaviors, alerting providers to take preventative steps.
  • Telehealth analytics is the use of data science, machine learning, or natural language processing to analyze and interpret the data generated by telehealth services, such as telehealth visits, referrals, satisfaction, or costs. These analytics can help evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of the services. They can also use AI to help identify patterns and trends in telehealth utilization, demand, and impact.

Education needs for providers who offer telehealth services

Healthcare organizations utilizing virtual nurse jobs and telehealth services must learn how to use them appropriately. They need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these services regarding convenience, accessibility, quality, cost, reliability, security, and privacy. They need to know when and how to use the services appropriately, safely, and effectively, and when and how to provide in-person care instead.

Providers and clinicians need to know how to use telehealth technology and equipment, how to communicate and interact with patients and providers remotely, how to respect and accommodate the diversity and preferences of both patients and providers, how to comply with regulations and standards of telehealth and virtual nursing, and how to assess and manage the clinical situations and scenarios that may arise.

Providers always need to follow evidence-based best practices, as they evolve, for telehealth services so they can implement and evaluate services based on the best currently available research, data, and feedback. They also need to participate and contribute to the ongoing learning and improvement of these services by sharing their experiences, insights, and suggestions.

These solutions are new for many organizations, and innovation will continue. Improvement will help solve care challenges for which there are currently few solutions. With these new possibilities comes the obligation to use them in the best and most helpful and impactful ways.


Nurse Salary and Job Satisfaction Report

Education is one of the top benefits that nurses want. Our 2024 Nurse Salary and Job Satisfaction Report, based on a survey Relias conducted of over 3,600 nurses, found that 18% of nurses listed continuing education as a benefit they wanted but did not receive. In fact, education was second on the top 10 benefits that nurses desired but did not receive. Learn what else nurses said they want by downloading our full report.

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