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Telemedicine during COVID-19

March 20, 2020 - by Parul Saini, Webmedy team

Telehealth technology is in the limelight for Coronavirus scare. Telemedicine can play a vital role in safe healthcare in the wake of this highly communicable virus spread. But what are its boundaries, and how are hospitals changing?

As the COVID-19 virus wreaks havoc globally, telemedicine is gaining traction with healthcare organizations and caregivers. Telemedicine is a viable and safe option for many patients who need to touch base with their providers on the situation of their health.

Telemedicine is getting very positive participation in healthcare during the pandemic and is being handled in a variety of ways. However, telehealth technologies do have certain boundaries when it comes to handling patients during a pandemic. Moreover, there is a chance telemedicine could add additional burden to hospitals, which are being overwhelmed, unless it's used well. But hospitals are learning to accommodate to telehealth during a pandemic.

How telemedicine is being applied in the context of COVID-19?

Through this global pandemic, telehealth is developing as an efficient and sustainable answer for precaution, prevention, and medication to stem the spread of COVID-19 as well as to provide critical care to patients suffering from other critical diseases so that they do not have to visit the hospitals and risk getting infected with COVID-19.

Telehealth is connecting people, doctors, and health systems, letting everyone, notably symptomatic patients, to stay at home and talk with doctors over virtual channels, improving to decrease the spread of the virus to mass groups and the medical staff on the frontlines. Critically, hospitals are effectively using telehealth to provide care to quarantined patients affected with COVID-19.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning the public and therapeutic team to apply telehealth solutions for non-urgent ideas to overcome the pressures confronting crisis quarters and hospitals. By practicing telehealth solutions and plans, people who are experiencing other medical illnesses throughout this time can take care at home, without entering medical facilities, reducing their risk of catching the virus.

Telemedicine is being used widely in the "forward triage" of patients long before they appear in the primary care clinics, told Dr. Siaw Tung Yeng, founder, and CEO of MaNaDr, a telemedicine technology, and services organization.

Reducing risk to healthcare workers

Dedi Gilad, CEO of a telemedicine technology company told: "The primary care doctors are fighting tirelessly in the frontlines at ground zero. Proper steps can then be practiced to reduce the dangers to healthcare workers and patients. The appropriate actions can then be exercised for the patients who have been pre-screened, conserving precious time and reducing risks of passage to all".

Many confirmed patients can from home have registered teleconsultations to evade face-to-face clinic appointments and hence reduce their risks of exposure to COVID-19. Chronic medicine can be transported to their house. Moreover, many in-clinic appointments with moderate acute respiratory disease can be served up very nearly almost daily. Should there be any differences in their clinical environments, proper steps can be taken instantly. Telemedicine gives a 24/7 lifeline for sufferers to connect to their doctors. This allows great convenience and trust to the patients in these difficult times.

Barriers to telehealth from COVID-19

Telemedicine can be a means for handling COVID19. However, there is one obvious disconnect that must be fixed, told John Nosta, chairman of NostaLab, a digital wellness think tank. "The idea for out-of-hospital administration is questioning," he told. Perhaps a 'crisis-based' development of telemedicine can support finding local examination centers and also control the flow of patients attempting a test."

Concerning COVID19, the data implies that most people will have a light infection and the clinical course will be unremarkable. In these examples, telemedicine may not be all that important, Nosta stated. "However, for a shorter subset of greater risk patients, the clinical course may not be constant with current telemedicine," he described. "These patients often have severe conditions that need hospitalization. The truth might be that for COVID19, telemedicine, as it exists presently, needs to be transformed to help control early testing, examination, and triage for those who may need in-patient care."

Is telemedicine overrunning hospitals?

Telemedicine has the power to serve more patients in the hospital in a pandemic. Moreover, telemedicine programs need caregivers and other staff to work. Now, with COVID-19, one issue is: Is telehealth in any way overwhelming hospitals or clinic practices?

Most clinics yet cannot give telehealth because, before now, it was widely seen as a tool for ambulatory or post-acute care, told Deemer of DrFirst. "Presently, of course, they are going swiftly to ramp up, so their emergency units can triage patients outside the four walls of the hospital," he stated. "Telemedicine also can help first repliers in the area of communicating with physicians, serving to assure those who require hospital care and can get it immediately and effectively, and at the same time, redirect those who don't require hospital care to other departments or keep them secure in their homes."

Most hospitals work at near to full potential in ordinary times, so, if anything, telehealth will undoubtedly decrease extra pressure. By using exceptional telehealth solutions, doctors are increasing their reach with the capacity to remotely check and diagnose more sufferers in a smaller amount of time, reducing the number of patients visiting hospitals and medical facilities.

Reducing the load

Telemedicine is decreasing the burden on clinics as they deal with the spread of COVID-19 and the connected increased caseload. Although few physicians are now expected to give time to screening patients via telemedicine while continuing medication of other patients, they would be performing that anyhow, and worse, they'd be performing it in person.

It's worth mentioning that clinics have different capabilities for using telemedicine right now, but those that can give telehealth services to any level are viewing benefits. Yet something as essential as doing the online waiting room innovations holds patients from stacking up near one another while they wait for their test in person.

Expanding Programs and Training

There are two principal areas of evolution for telemedicine at this time: Clinics are growing their telehealth services and also discovering ways to teach staff on a reduced timeline, told Hedges of Software Advice. The first one is a no-brainer: Telemedicine is such a complete, ready-made answer to directing COVID-19 that it wouldn't make sense not to use it, and lots of clinics are starting attempts to expand their telehealth services to better serve patients during this period. The scope of telemedicine innovations that clinics can use varies, but it could involve spending in anything from video hardware to help remote meetings or telemedicine vehicles to handle tests with hospitalized patients from outside their rooms.

For those healthcare groups that did not have telemedicine in the house before the explosion, or those that are appending extra services at this time, training is a big barrier. Luckily, most telemedicine providers allow strong training modules to support users getting started with the software, so practitioners are rolling massively on these devices to use telemedicine immediately.

From a new study of U.S. patients, it is discovered that 84% are more inclined to choose a doctor that gives telemedicine across one that doesn't, so it's obvious this technology is something patients want. Practices are spending in telemedicine now out of a requirement to fully equip themselves for coronavirus, but they should view it as a long-term investment to give a safer patient experience as well.

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