The covid-19 pandemic has imposed a lot of restrictions on the movement of people. The arrival of telehealth is probably a 21st century way to treat an infectious disease. Telemedicine has served both patients and doctors alike, by keeping them away from crowds. Today patients can talk to their doctors about their medical needs with a click of a button. Doctors can perform their job without the fear of contracting the disease.
What does telehealth entail in reality?
BMC public health outlines telehealth as a delivery system of healthcare services by trained professionals. A certain amount of distance is maintained in the process but the connection between them is aided by ICT (Information and communication technology). With progress in technology and electronic equipment getting smaller, today every family has at least one smartphone. Connections between the patients and the doctors are enabled by webcams and teleconferencing systems. For patients who are isolated, similar technology is used to connect them to their family members without risking anyone in the process.
How have telemedicine services improved the quality of healthcare?
Telemedicine services have served in their way during the pandemic. It has enabled lines of communication at the initial stages of the pandemic when there was no known vaccine or cure. The physicians can cover multiple situations and patients with the help of teleconferencing. This reduces the problem of a smaller workforce.
Telemedicine services have been touted by some as the way forward for non-emergency services. For example, psychological care doesn’t need in-person services between the patient and the doctor. Telemedicine has been beneficial for health centers that would otherwise be struggling for resources. By promoting such services, the rate of transmission of the deadly disease can be slowed by limiting the patients’ interaction with the outside world.
What are the different areas in which telemedicine services have helped?
The American College of cardiology has been promoting the use of telehealth services to monitor people with heart issues. This has become a problem in recent times because cardiac patients who contract covid have a higher mortality rate. Virtual monitoring has improved survival chances as well as reduced admissions to hospitals.
● Tele-Acute Neurology
Neurological cases like strokes require urgent treatment. Often its outcomes depend on how fast the patient is treated. In the pandemic, doctors have been assigned for covid treatments. Once an assessment of the patient is done remotely, necessary steps can be taken before the person is treated further.
● Respiratory diseases
Patients with a history of respiratory problems are at a greater risk of being infected by covid-19. To add to that they also rely on ventilators which are occupied at this time. Telehealth helps such patients through monitoring and data collection.
● Non-acute care
In this situation, cancer patients are also at risk of being infected because of their inferior immunity. Cancer specialists can use this technology to monitor the developments of patients after their chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Sometimes such patients also require other forms of care such as psychological care and physiotherapy. This system improves their quality of life.
Patients with chronic diseases must adhere to their medical routine strictly at this time and they might need consultations with their physicians. Following them is made possible through eHealth.
Telemedicine can help in rehabilitation for patients recovering from strokes and brain injuries. Rehabilitation efforts include therapy, games, and consultations which improve the mental health of the patients. Physicians can also help the patients by motivating them. Poor level of telehealth accessibility has resulted in higher levels of admissions in hospitals.
Is telemedicine the way forward in the post-pandemic world?
If telemedicine is to be adopted everywhere, its problems need to be analyzed and removed. Telemedicine needs to find a way for convincing patients about their privacy concerns. It also needs to adapt to the needs of comprehensive physical examinations when such situations arise. It also needs to branch out to see if it can be of help in other fields as well. Telemedicine app development will only increase the efficiency of the workforce but also will prevent crowding in hospitals.
● What is telemedicine and how does it work?
Telemedicine means the use of technology to create an effective communication channel between a physician and his patients without physically being present. It works with the help of phone calls, texts, e-mails, and video conferencing.
● What are the disadvantages of telemedicine?
The main problems with telemedicine are connectivity issues in rural areas and the cost to set up and maintain it. Besides, some people might not be acquainted with the nuances of digital technology and they might need assistance.