The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we conduct interactions, both personally and professionally, and the medical industry is no exception to these changes. Patients who don’t immediately need to access hospital care are encouraged to use virtual platforms to minimize close contact and thus mitigate their chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Social distancing is one of the precautionary measures that have to be followed to curb the spread of the virus. This change makes virtual care important now than ever. Let’s take a closer look at why telemedicine is important to keep the healthcare system operating at its best during this time.
- Immediate Attention
The pandemic has seen hospitals becoming overwhelmed by the number of COVID 19 patients needing immediate assistance. Consequently, patients suffering from not immediately life-threatening diseases and conditions haven’t been able to get the attention and treatment that they need in physical hospitals.
A virtual care solution is designed to help patients get immediate assistance from doctors on call. Depending on the virtual medi-care package, the patient can choose the doctor from those available and enjoy a more patient-centric experience. Virtual care eliminates the process of waiting long hours to be attended to as long as the virtual platform runs efficiently.
- Safe Medical Option
Virtual care is a safer option in a time when people are required to stay at home as much as they can. Visiting a hospital means increasing the chances of contracting the virus. The patient is going to have to commute to the hospital, make contact with staff members, and be in contact with hospital surfaces. Virtual care, on the other hand, means that both patient and doctor are protected from direct contact, thereby reducing the risk of transmission.
Many people have lost their jobs or have had their hours cut back because of lockdown measures that have been implemented across the globe. Some may not have the money needed to commute to the hospital for care. Whether virtual consultation fees are cheaper than in-person consultations may depend on the hospital and insurance systems. However, patients will save on transportation costs and parking, for example, if they can access their doctors virtually.
On top of that, patients won’t need to take extra time off of work to visit their doctors in person. By being able to simply take the half-hour or hour needed for their appointment rather than many hours to allow for commuting, waiting, and the appointment itself, patients won’t lose out on valuable hours at work, meaning they won’t lose the valuable money from working those hours.
- Constant Availability
The pandemic has made the process of operating businesses and services unpredictable. When strict lockdown measures are put in place, people have to adhere to certain hours that they can be outside of their homes. This means that some may be unable to access hospitals even if these remain open during after-hours because they may not be able to access public transport or leave their neighbourhood.
Virtual care means that, regardless of the curfew hours, patients are able to access the services that they need. In some cases, patients have had to wait for hours in order to access care, which led to a more serious complication to their condition because of the delay. In the event that a patient accesses virtual care and the doctor diagnoses the condition as needing immediate physical care, logistics and hospital transport can be arranged during the curfew hours.
Lockdown measures have led to various establishments having to shut down. Some medical facilities had to close down because the health care workers who staffed that facility caught COVID-19, meaning there were not enough people to staff the clinic. Virtual care allows for continuity of care in that if a staff member has tested positively for coronavirus but is asymptomatic and fit enough to attend to patients, they can do so from the safety of their home. The services can continue even in the entity is temporarily shut down, meaning patients receive care and the medical facility stays afloat amid the pandemic.
- Simple Documentation
Sometimes, if you are very sick or injured, it may be hard for you to get the necessary paperwork done in order to take advantage of the medical care that you so desperately need. However, virtual medical care has made this much simpler. You will simply fill out the necessary paperwork at the click of a button, and then you can rest easy knowing that you can see your doctor whenever you need them.
- Flexible Strategy
For some smaller medical facilities or for larger entities like hospitals that are short on staff, they may implement a crisis strategy in which only a skeletal team is positioned for physical consultation, virtual medical care allows these facilities to cut down on certain risks or costs while still being able to get revenue from patients. A skeletal team is flexible enough to be able to care for patients both physically and at home, or a rotation could be put in place to allow the skeletal team to physically care for patients while other staff who are at home can be in charge of caring for telemedicine patients.
- Wide Reach Services
Virtual care sees no geographical boundaries, meaning a medical team can care for a wide pool of patients. People will be able to access your facilities without any constraining factors, including those who may not have been aware of your services. Once a medical facility has a strong online presence, your patient base expands.
Virtual medi-care is important now than ever because of the uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing is highly encouraged to help curb the spread of the virus. Virtual healthcare makes it possible for patients to immediately access services when in need without physically visiting the doctor. Virtual care means that the services are constantly available regardless of curfews, facilitates business continuity, and is a cost-effective strategy.