As medical practitioners stand on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, their safety and the safety of people who have medical issues unrelated to the coronavirus are put at risk of contracting COVID-19. According to the CDC, nearly 30.1 million people under age 65 are uninsured, which greatly emphasizes the need to flatten the curve of the number of patients being treated in hospitals through innovative technology solutions.
As a response to this need, telehealth technology is experiencing a spike in its implementation and usage in hospital practices.
How Telehealth is Helping to Flatten the Curve
Telehealth, put simply, is the means in which medical information and health-related services are administered remotely. This means that some of those who need medical care are able to get in touch with and receive medical attention from the specialist they need without having to physically to go to any hospitals or offices.
Not only does this help reduce the number of people in medical centers, allowing medical practitioners to provide increased focus on the patients that are there, but it also helps people with ailments unrelated to COVID-19 receive the care they need, while significantly reducing the probability of being exposed to the coronavirus. This is especially useful to those who need regular monitoring, consulting, or medicating due to chronic ailments.
Likewise, telehealth is also quite beneficial to healthcare workers, and for a different reason. Medical practitioners can communicate with patients who seem to exhibit coronavirus symptoms without putting themselves and other patients at risk of contracting it. They can then assess whether or not patients are at risk and respond accordingly in order to protect as many unaffected people as possible.
Concerns Regarding Telehealth
Now, despite the benefits that telehealth offers, there are a few concerns that are worth addressing. One such concern is that not all hospitals readily possess the required technology, whether that be high-speed internet connection, camera, microphone, etc. These are resources that require a certain investment to ensure that the communication between doctors and patients is of good quality for the sake of the patient’s experience, recovery, and well being.
Another concern is that of physical space, as a professional service that uses a microphone and camera requires a professional environment to host them. Minimal echo, background noise, and visual distractions are essential to provide a quality call.
As these concerns show, not every hospital may be able to quickly implement telehealth practices. This, however, doesn’t detract from the advancements in safety that hospitals are experiencing. As such, telehealth is becoming an essential part of the medical community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.