The global pandemic that we are experiencing right now is unprecedented in modern history. Several aspects of our lives have literally stopped, and most of us are stuck at home thinking, “When will it end?” With several parts of the world still suffering from the COVID 19 outbreak, we are being affected globally.
Perhaps none are more affected than the frontliners during these troubled times. Doctors, nurses, and hospitals are swamped as demand cannot keep up with the supply of patients coming in each day. As the number of cases source, it is troubling to know that any country’s health care system can collapse under the pressure.
Fortunately, many countries already have telehealth in place. This allows the health care system to operate pretty much virtually, helping unload the burden off health workers while still doing its part in flattening the curve.
Here are some of the factors that telehealth has an impact on when it comes to the spread of coronavirus around the world.
The Impact of Coronavirus
As of this writing, there have been 5.3 million cases of COVID 19 around the world, and only a few have made significant progress in slowing down the spread of the disease. Of these cases, more than half are still active and require some form of health care, while around 45,000 people have already died from the condition.
Lockdown measures of varying intensities have been implemented to help prevent the further spread of disease. These regulations have resulted in the closure of businesses, retrenchment of employees, and the stalling of the economy. In some cases, rallies and hoarding have also been experienced as people are forced to stay at home.
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has definitely been felt by the health care industry. Doctors and nurses are swamped with cases and are being infected themselves. Hospitals are working beyond capacity as more cases come in. Resources and supplies are running low and have run out in some cases.
The Relevance of Telehealth
Telehealth, on the other hand, can help alleviate some of these effects. Through the use of technology, telehealth can have a substantial positive impact on the fight against COVID 19.
Telehealth Helps Flatten the Curve
COVID 19 is an extremely communicable disease. The infected travelling to the hospital, queueing among patients, and getting treated by health care workers puts everyone else at risk. With telehealth, however, consultations and treatment can be done online, so patients can safely quarantine at home while still getting the care that they need.
Virtual consultations can unclog hospitals, which can be epicentres for further outbreaks. With fewer people coming in for treatment, there will be fewer chances of contamination. As 98% of COVID 19 cases are very mild in nature, simply staying at home with care being done through telehealth can really help flatten the curve.
Telehealth Widens the Scope of Care
Despite a low percentage of severe COVID 19 cases, everyone infected deserves some form of health care. Unfortunately, some patients do not have access to hospitals, while doctors and nurses may be locked in themselves.
Telehealth provides virtual communication portals so that patients and doctors can communicate with each other wherever they maybe for as long as they have an Internet connection and a device that allows for telehealth access.
This means that more health workers can be activated for work in order to treat the rising number of cases, and patients can also gain access to the health care that they deserve even if no doctor or hospital is within reach.
Telehealth Decreases the Impact of Cost
It has been well documented that telehealth costs are much lower than through the traditional channels. This is due to the lower overheads required to perform telehealth services. As such, hospitals will spend less and charge less. Health insurance companies will also be more amenable to claims done through telehealth.
In these times where every penny counts, using the cheaper yet still as an effective alternative is a must. This is why telehealth is much lauded today as, not only does it provide health care to those with limited travel capabilities, but the financial burden for all parties concerned is significantly lessened as well.
Telehealth Improves the Health Care Process
With the rising number of cases, hospitals will definitely have trouble with monitoring records such as patient information, treatment history, and even medication administered. This can have some disastrous effects administratively and, at worst, it can hamper the administration of much-needed health care.
Telehealth encompasses the automation and consolidation of all data that a hospital may need to provide care. This means that records can be retrieved in an instant, and there are no redundant steps that would need to be undertaken.
The result of telehealth at the backend of hospitals is that procedures are more streamlined, data can quickly go where they intend to go, and workers can focus more on what matters more – treating the sick.
Telehealth Helps Keep the Public Informed
One of the biggest problems facing the COVID 19 outbreak is the lack of accurate information. As such, many rely on fake news and false data that can definitely lead to some problems down the line. Telehealth can resolve that by allowing the system to provide accurate and up to date information to the public.
Telehealth systems can keep the public informed on coronavirus related data and provide them via channels such as emails, blogs, or SMS. As such, this information is unbiased, can remain in its purest form, and can be used to inform the public how to protect themselves and others.
While the COVID 19 situation around the world is bad, we can survive this by following safety and health procedures and guidelines. Using telehealth for health concerns can also greatly help as it unburdens health workers so that they can focus their limited resources to those who need it more.
Telehealth has and will continue to, have a positive impact on the health care industry. As its effects are being felt during this pandemic, more and more will understand its worth and utilize telehealth to its full potential in the foreseeable future.