The world faces a global pandemic, as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on everyone’s daily life, disrupting our job schedules and the very healthcare system. And the midst of it all, telemedicine stepped up to the spotlight to help healthcare provider organizations and caregivers. Here’s everything you need to know about telemedicine during COVID-19.
Family physicians are consumed with the challenge on how to best care for their patients, all while keeping themselves and their staff safe. Right on cue, the AAFP updated its guidelines on using telehealth to address patient care during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Telemedicine during COVID-19 pandemic is making positive contributions to how healthcare professionals operate. Plus, it’s also being used in a variety of ways.
How Telemedicine During COVID-19 is Being Used
Telehealth and telemedicine is emerging as a sustainable and effective solution for prevention, precaution, and treatment. All in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Telemedicine during COVID-19 bridges the gap between patients, physicians, and healthcare systems. It enables everyone, especially the symptomatic patients, to remain at home and communicate with their doctors through virtual channels.
This movement helps reduce the spread of the virus to the general population. It works wonders for keeping the medical staff frontliners safe too.
Telehealth solutions and programs enable people suffering from other ailments to receive the ample care they need at home, without having to enter medical facilities. As a result, it minimizes the risk of contracting the virus.
CDC and the government administration urges the public and medical staff to partake in telemedicine during the COVID-19 crisis.
Telemedicine Reduces the Risk on Healthcare Workers
Physicians, human anatomy specialists (like Dynamic Disc Designs), and medical staff work tirelessly in the frontlines, even at ground zero. While the rest of the public is under-quarantine, these medical professionals are out there, risking their lives for us all.
For this reason, proper measures need to be taken to minimize the risk of viral infection to healthcare practitioners and patients alike. And the best part about telemedicine during the COVID-19 outbreak is that it’s the source of a 24/7 lifeline for patients to connect to their healthcare providers. This opens a door for greater comfort and assurance to the patients in these trying times.
In fact, Dr. Jason Hollock, chief medical officer at SOC Telemed, reports that healthcare is witnessing a surge of direct-to-consumer telemedicine providers. Most of them operate at large scales to help provide care to patients who might wonder if they need care after showing potential symptoms that are associated with the novel coronavirus.
“Simultaneously we’re also seeing a rapidly increasing need for on-demand acute care via telemedicine. This includes ICU programs offering intensive care for the most critical patients. However, tele-triage is exploding in terms of the number of use-cases that involves determining when a patient presents in the emergency department whether they need to be issued a bed or if they can be seen in another area within the hospital in order to keep the patient safe and to reduce potential exposures.”
~ Dr. Jason Hollock, chief medical officer at SOC Telemed
This aids greatly in limiting a healthcare provider’s exposure to the virus and many other infectious diseases. As we’re all aware of, hospital workers exposed to the virus without adequate protection need to be put into self-quarantine for 14 days.
Scrambling to Catch-up with Telemedicine
Unfortunately, policymakers and healthcare providers alike are just now playing catch-up with telehealth technologies. They’re only beginning to recognize that telemedicine is an essential solution for keeping potentially infected people out of the doctors’ offices and hospitals.
And as this crisis in public health continues to escalate, telemedicine is swiftly receiving recognition. Now, they see telemedicine during COVID-19 as a critical tool to slow the spread of the virus.
Experts see 3 primary roles for telemedicine during this crisis:
- Screening patients remotely: This is the safe option rather than asking them to visit the hospital or the doctor’s office. Telemedicine can triage patients with flu-like symptoms, and remotely care for patients who aren’t in need of medical intervention or could receive care at home.
- Providing routine care for patients with chronic illnesses: These patients are commonly overlooked in the light of the virus spreading. But we need to remember that these patients are the high risk ones if they’re exposed to COVID-19. Video visits can help patients avoid coronavirus exposure.
- Keeping healthcare providers safe: Healthcare professionals and their staff aren’t immune to infection. They have as much risk for contracting COVID-19 because of continuous exposure as much as the next patient. Telehealth services help see patients through a remote feed.
Telemedicine Reduces the Burden
Telemedicine reduces the burden on hospitals as they take care of the spread of COVID-19. Yes, some doctors are required to dedicate time to screening patients through telemedicine while maintaining the treatment of other patients.
They do that everyday. But it’s much worse if they’re required to do it in person in light of the virus wreaking havoc.
But if hospitals want to make a jump in telemedicine, they need to look at proven technology. Enterprise-based platform systems are a good place to start. This way, they can customize programs, stand it up quickly, and learn from best practices in other areas of care.
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