By Piyush Jain, founder and CEO, Simpalm.
Telehealth is the delivery of health education, health information services, and healthcare services using remote technologies like telecommunication and digital communication. It has long been around in the healthcare industry.
However, previously providers hesitated in embracing the potential of it because of the low revenue and costly infrastructure needed to set it up. Nonetheless, the COVID-19 pandemic completely transformed that scenario. Caregivers were compelled to adopt telehealth technologies for their own safety and follow social distancing norms.
Since the pandemic, telehealth services have gained tremendous momentum, particularly for the following reasons:
- Virtual visits are safe because they lower the risk of spreading the virus.
- Telehealth enables those who are vulnerable to the virus (elderly citizens and those with a compromised immune system) to continue receiving medical services safely without physical visits.
- Medicare allows payments for telehealth services during COVID-19 for beneficiaries even if they are at their homes.
However, one must not confuse telehealth with a phone consultation. Telehealth is different as it incorporates many facilities for better delivery of healthcare to patients remotely, like,
- Visualization of the patients to assess whether ill enough to need face-to-face and determine the best place for care.
- Visualization of reports such as X-ray reports, blood sugar, blood glucose levels, and more.