Common types of hardware used in telehealth consultations include carts, desktop/laptop computers, and tablets.
Carts: Carts are portable systems used for clinical and educational purposes. Clinical carts are used for patient care while educational carts are used for training, meetings, interviews, etc. Carts are customized to meet specific needs and specialties. Carts generally include a monitor, camera, codec (to encrypt information), keyboard, and remote control. Clinical carts also have a PC to store patient information. Clinical carts provide healthcare professionals with the capability of viewing live images as well as taking pictures to store and forward to other healthcare professionals at a later time if needed.
Peripherals: Carts are designed to use tools that assess patient needs. These tools, called peripherals, are very similar to the tools used in a face-to-face visit. Peripherals include items such as vital sign monitors, digital stethoscopes, probes, etc. Cameras are also available for specific types of care, such as dermatology or radiology.
Desktop/Laptop Computers: A desktop computer (stationary) or a laptop computer (mobile) can be used for consultations. HIPAA-compliant software required for encryption and privacy is installed on these devices when used for telehealth/telemedicine purposes.
Tablets: Tablets, such as iPads, are often used in emergency medicine and other healthcare areas. Mobile technology enables an immediate connection between patient and healthcare professional regardless of location. Sometimes, patients use tablets to monitor conditions and consult with their healthcare team.