Telehealth Proving To Be A Game-Changer During COVID-19

By Piyush Jain, founder and CEO, Simpalm.

Piyush Jain

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:

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,

Telehealth Modalities

Synchronous

Synchronous is referred to as the telehealth services that include real-time telephone or live audio and video interaction with patients using smartphones, tablets, or computers. In many cases, medical equipment such as an otoscope, digital stethoscope, ultrasound, and more can be used physically by other caregivers such as nurses and medical assistants, while the preferred healthcare professional conducts a remote evaluation.

Asynchronous

This is based on “Store and Forward” technology where data such as messages and images are collected at a particular point in time then interpreted and responded to, later. This kind of communication between patient and provider can be facilitated by the patient portal through secure messaging.

Benefits of using telehealth services for both caregivers and patients

There are several benefits associated with the use of telehealth technologies. These services can be safer for both caregivers and patients as it reduces potential infectious exposures. It can help the healthcare system to operate efficiently by reducing patient demands for facilities and by reducing the use of PPE by caregivers. Saving time and resources enables healthcare systems to provide services efficiently at scale. Remote access to healthcare can also help to retain the patient-caregiver relationship when an in-patient visit is not feasible.

Telehealth can be used in many ways such as: 

Conclusion

Embracing the potential of telehealth to fight against COVID-19  is well underway. Health departments across the US are urging people with symptoms to make use of digital platforms to consult their medical professional instead of heading to an urgent care facility. This lets doctors better determine if the patients are sick with coronavirus and whether they need testing.

Furthermore, the center for health Control and the World Health Organization (WHO) are both encouraging people to use telemedicine options. There are several telehealth platforms such as Teladoc, MeMD, iCliniq, Amwell, Doctor on Demand, Virtuwell, and more. Many hospitals offer virtual clinics as well. The benefit of calling ahead and going online is that it keeps people who are sick from illness, be it the flu, a cold, or the coronavirus.

It can give physicians and nurses more time to devote to those with severe symptoms. A new form of telemedicine is being developed and tested in Silicon Valley, the idea of this online platform is to determine eligible people for tests and direct those to a mobile testing site. The coronavirus encouraged more people towards telehealth technologies as a result most hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities are free to attend to those who need it the most.


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