With the global epidemic of new coronavirus (COVIS-19) unfolding its repercussions in different facets of life, whether social, political or economic, it has simultaneously explored multiple avenues for healthcare providers through which they need to explore options that can help them accommodate the exponential rise in visit volume while protecting their patients and themselves.
One of the areas that has emerged as an increasingly valuable tool in these times of healthcare crisis is telemedicine. The tool of telemedicine has gained immense significance in providing first line defense to clinicians and healthcare practitioners in terms of assessing and combating a coronavirus outbreak by reaching patients in remote locations who have limited accessibility to care. Here we will look at the ways in which telemedicine solutions can be helpful in combating COVID-19 contemporarily along with the possible challenges.
Promoting Early Diagnosis and Curbing Potential Spread of Coronavirus
With the help and use of different telemedicine solutions and platforms, patients and doctors can easily interact via smartphones and personal computers. The use of these solutions provide a convenient, effective and efficient communication environment that allows patients and doctors to connect remotely with each other from their own homes.
By engaging patients with their doctors remotely, in-office appointments are reduced which is extremely important when it comes to the spread of infectious diseases like flu and coronavirus. The early diagnosis helps prevent exposure to the virus by keeping sick people away from others.
In addition to this, the use of telemedicine solutions like V2MD and ClinicLive, physicians can easily connect medical devices to the video conference that allows them to collect vital information related of the condition of the patient leading to quicker diagnosis.
Limiting Exposure to Coronavirus Including Ones on Front Lines
Since there is no effective vaccine developed for COVID-19 as yet, the fundamental guidelines provided by CDC to prevent the spread of the virus is to avoid exposure through social distancing. Telemedicine plays an important role in reducing the spread of the infection by keeping patients away from each other.
People who are sick stay at home, rather than posing vulnerability to others including their doctors or anyone that they come in contact either at the clinic or the healthcare facility. Furthermore, being able to connect and diagnose patients remotely helps to keep them free from germs, and ultimately able to help more patients.
Increasing Patient Accommodation with Healthcare Providers
Apart from being an epidemic, coronavirus has also introduced serious logistical concerns for providers. They cannot turn their back on patients and it is physically possible for them to treat and take care of the high volume of patients coming in every day.
The use of telemedicine comes in handy in this sort of situation. By relying on televisits healthcare providers can better schedule and organize their time and can have appointments with patients even after their traditional hours. Along with this, they can also leverage remote visits to screen patients for illnesses that require additional attention, and refer serious cases for additional care.
Challenges for Telemedicine in US Healthcare System
On one hand where we discuss the benefits of telemedicine in contemporary digital health environment, we cannot sideline the challenges and obstacles it has introduced. The biggest obstacle to telehealth in the US is that the healthcare system is not well-suited or equipped to show wide acceptance and acknowledgement of tools that can help in the digitization of healthcare.
According to Linda Branagan, the director of the University of California, San Francisco’s telehealth program, “The biggest challenges stem from factors that don’t exist in China, like our vast array of private, state, and federal payers with varying reimbursement policies and state-based medical licensing.”
Nevertheless, with all these challenges in place, the healthcare system of the country is developing a culture through which telemedicine solutions and their benefits can trickle down to patients and practitioners in an efficient manner.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the needs of healthcare professionals have evolved with the passage of time, and with the emergence of epidemics like coronavirus, the need of tools like telemedicine has become increasingly important to better protect, engage and care for accommodating patients as effectively and efficiently as possible.