As the COVID-19 virus wreaks havoc with the healthcare system, telemedicine is stepping up into the spotlight and helping healthcare provider organizations and caregivers better respond to the needs of Americans who have contracted the virus and Americans who need to touch base with their providers on the status of their health.
Telemedicine is making a very positive contribution to healthcare during the pandemic, and is being used in a variety of ways. But telehealth technologies do have certain limitations when it comes to treating patients during a pandemic. Further, there is a chance telemedicine could add to hospitals being overwhelmed, unless it’s used well. But hospitals are learning to adapt to telehealth during a pandemic.
How telemedicine is being used in the context of COVID-19
During this global pandemic, telehealth is emerging as an effective and sustainable solution for precaution, prevention and treatment to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Telehealth is bridging the gap between people, physicians and health systems, enabling everyone, especially symptomatic patients, to stay at home and communicate with physicians through virtual channels, helping to reduce the spread of the virus to mass populations and the medical staff on the frontlines, said Dedi Gilad, CEO and co-founder of Tyto Care, a telemedicine technology company. Critically, hospitals are quickly adopting telehealth to treat quarantined patients infected with COVID-19, he added.
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“In addition, the CDC is urging the public and medical staff to use telehealth solutions for non-urgent communication in an effort to reduce the pressures facing emergency rooms and clinics,” he explained. “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.”
Telemedicine is being used extensively in the “forward triage” of patients long before they arrive in the primary care clinics, said Dr. Siaw Tung Yeng, founder and CEO of MaNaDr, a telemedicine technology and services company.
Minimizing risk to healthcare workers
“The primary care physicians are working tirelessly in the frontlines at ground zero,” he said. “With MaNaDr, we’re able to divide the patients into the at-risk and not-at-risk groups. Appropriate measures can then be taken to minimize the risks to healthcare workers and patients. The right actions can then be taken for the patients who have been pre-screened, saving precious time and minimizing risks of transmission to all.”
Many chronic patients can from home have scheduled teleconsultations to avoid face-to-face clinic visits and hence minimize their risks of exposure to COVID-19, he added.
Source: Healthcare IT News