Numerous people were unfamiliar with the term telemedicine before the global pandemic. Telemedicine hogged the limelight during Covid-19 and accelerated digital transformation efforts. While being quarantined best medical solution is choosing the top telemedicine appointment service. Undoubtedly, telehealth proved a viable way to provide care to Covid patients. However, adapting telemed is burdensome for hospitals as well as for patients. Let’s discuss how telemed transformed in-person doctors’ visits into virtual visits during COVID-19.
What is telehealth, and how can it help during the COVID-19 outbreak?
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Telemed refers to merging VoIP ( voice over internet protocol) technology in healthcare services. It includes everything from voice notes to video calls over telephonic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers to provide healthcare. Telemed covers a wide range of patient-focused applications, and these are known as;
Telemed services include booking an appointment over audiovisual telecommunication. Live calling to the hospital to interact with medical staff is one of the significant telemed applications that brings convenience to patients and the hospital end.
Patient portal platforms enable patients to interact with doctors and nurses over the internet. It is a convenient digital place to access personal health information 24/7. After signing up on the portal, patients can view the following health information:
- vaccinations due dates
- doctors appointments
- doctors last visit
- lab test results
There is a patient portal with advanced features as well that allows you to even
message your consultant directly to;
- get prescription refills
- book an appointment
- read lab report
With the help of the portal, you can keep track of your health more effectively.
Conveyance of recorded medical history from an internal medicine doctor to the specialist consultant over an electronic communication device falls under telemed applications. Telemed helps carry forward patients’ medical records including lab reports, radiological papers, and other diagnostic tests from a primary physician to a specialist.
Remote Patient Monitoring(RPM)
Remote patient monitoring or remote physiologic monitoring means using digital technology to collect and record medical data from patients and electronically transmit this data to healthcare providers. With remote monitoring, access to care is enormously expanded, and health issues can address more quickly.
mHealth is a term that describes the usage of mobile phones and internet devices in healthcare. It stands out in practicing healthcare education and public awareness programs. These support programs encourage healthy behavior on a large scale during a viral outbreak. Other things include mobile health apps that help people organize their health data, count calories, track daily activities, schedule medicines reminders, and much more.
- In February 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published recommendations advising the general public and healthcare facilitators in COVID-19-affected areas to adopt social distancing practices.
The CDC strongly encourages healthcare providers to offer healthcare services, particularly through virtual mediums such as telemed.
The CDC further stated that telemed could have multiple benefits during the pandemic such as;
- increasing easy access to care
- reducing the risk of disease exposure to medical staff and other patients
- preserving scant supplies of personal protective equipment
- minimizing patients’ demand on facilities
In light of the above study, the CDC reported a 154% increase in telehealth visits at the end of March 2020 from the same period in 2019.
Changes in the behavior of consumers and providers as well as in health policy in response to the pandemic augmented the rise in telehealth.
Telehealth provides a convenient mode of getting healthcare while practicing social distancing. For some, it may sound complicated, while for so many, it is as easy as video calling a friend or family.
How does Telemed work?
It all starts with a virtual visit with your doctor simply by connecting over a telecommunication device. You can call your doctor via telephone or mobile (at the scheduled appointment). For video calling, you need a laptop, tablet, and computer device with additional accessories like microphones and a camera. Usually, the hospital admin staff will ask you for a virtual or in-person visit. If you choose virtual visits, your hospital staff will tell you all the details about accessing the website or downloading the app. Both you and your doctor should sign up at the scheduled time on the portal to get started.
Telehealth visits are not limited to primary care physicians only. You can schedule an appointment for a video conference with a physician assistant, specialist, or psychologist.
How do I use Telemedicine?
Your healthcare provider can give you specific instructions on how to access telemedicine services. It is ideal if you have an electronic device with advanced features for video calling such as a smartphone, tablet, and wireless internet device. If you are unaware of advanced technology or have zero access to the technology, then telemedicine may not be an appropriate option for you. Your telemed visits are not necessarily covered under your insurance policy. However, all major insurance policies can cover telemedicine visits. Make sure that you must schedule an appointment with your consultant followed by follow-up appointments. The best approach is to call your provider when you think you need to pay a visit and discuss all your options for receiving care at that time.
How telemedicine is being used in the context of COVID-19
In times of the global pandemic, telemed is emerging as an effective solution for precaution, prevention, and treatment to control the spread of COVID-19.
Telemed is bridging the gap between people and physicians. It enables people, especially symptomatic patients, to stay home and communicate with physicians through virtual channels. It helps to reduce the spread of the virus to mass populations and the frontline medical staff.
“By deploying telehealth solutions and programs, people who are suffering from other medical ailments during this time can receive care from home, without entering medical facilities, minimizing their risk of contracting the virus.”
Telemed minimizes the risk to healthcare workers.
Medical staff working tirelessly at the frontlines are always at risk of being caught up by this contagious virus since they are in direct contact with COVID patients. Telemed is an effective way to minimize the risk of the out-spread of this deadly disease among the medical staff and other patients. Telemedicine offer 24/7 medical facility for patients to connect to their physician. It offers great convenience to the patients and assures the safety of the medical staff.
In the context of the COVID-19 outbreak, fast-paced modern technologies have brought the potential of universally transforming the working, learning, and living ways. As the use of technology in different other walks of life rapidly increased and altered, healthcare is such a specific industry that is experiencing constant transformation by integrating technologies such as telemedicine. Indeed, telemed increases the capacity of the medical staff facilitating them to offer high-quality medical care to more patients than before. The healthcare providers working at the frontline continue to serve humanity without being exposed to the deadly virus directly. Patients and practitioners are more inclined to adopt and appreciate virtual urgent care in Michigan and over the globe.
Telemedicine also proved a great source to spread public awareness regarding the outbreak of COVID-19.
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