The Surge of Virtual Healthcare and Telehealth During COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a blow that quivers all with the fact of the huge loss of human life across the globe. Not only this, it has brought forth an unprecedented challenge to public health. The disruption caused to society and the economy by the pandemic is really devastating. The worst part of the lockdown is that the senior patients as well as the healthcare providers were at a greater risk of infection.

At this point in time, telehealth was a rescue solution that came into the limelight for helping healthcare providers and caregivers to better respond to the needs. The services are making a positive impact on the healthcare sector during the global pandemic time. It has been used in many different ways.

Key benefits of telehealth

The rapid rise of telehealth services is not surprising due to its significant benefits. Some of the major benefits are as follows:

  • Telehealth makes your hospital staff more productive and effective. By automating some repetitive tasks, the staff can handle other priority tasks. The nurses simultaneously manage 200-300 patients at a time because clinical notifications are pre-built into the software.
  • Telehealth improves clinical outcomes. Wherein many trained medical representatives may not possess the latest trends in patient conditions, telehealth solutions can easily identify deteriorations earlier with the embedded care protocols and report to the doctors. ICU patients under telemonitoring showed a 26% reduction in death rate, in the ICU 30% reduction in duration found while staying, and 15% faster were the discharge rate.
  • Health care lowers healthcare significantly with telehealth by increasing accessibility, improving productivity, and delivering better clinical outcomes, all of which benefit governments, insurers, and individuals.

4 Practical ways telehealth is a boon during COVID-19

Telehealth is emerging as a highly effective and sustainable solution during this global pandemic. It is also bridging the gap between people, physicians, and health systems, enabling the symptomatic patients to communicate with physicians via virtual channels by staying at home. Telemedicine is being used extensively in the “forward triage” of patients long before they reach out to the primary care clinics.

Let us discuss some ways how telehealth is making a mark in the context of COVID-19.

1. Reducing risk to the healthcare workers

Planning the right approach and taking the right steps can help to reduce the risks to healthcare staff and patients. With the right actions taken for the patients, who have gone through pre-screening earlier, precious time is saved and risks of transmission to all are minimized.

A large number of chronic patients from home have preferred to schedule teleconsultations to avoid in-person visits to the clinic. It has reduced their risks of exposure to COVID-19. Chronic medicine can be delivered to their house easily. Telemedicine services include a 24×7 lifeline for patients to connect to their healthcare providers. It offers great comfort and assurance to the patients in these difficult times.

2.  Expands access to care and reaches more patients

It is very much obvious that there is an increasing shortage of medical representatives (doctors, physicians, nurses) in this pandemic time. Telehealth is a rescue solution that helps to stretch the provider networks in new ways to expand access to care.

Telehealth services can be used to connect with patients in remote areas and outside the normal care delivery systems. The advanced healthcare software can also be used to provide mid-level education to the patients as well as physician diagnosis, reaching a lot of people in new ways.

3. Reducing the burden on hospitals

Undoubtedly, virtual care by telemedicine has reduced the burden on hospitals as they deal with the spread of COVID-19. Many doctors and physicians are screening patients with the help of telemedicine. Also, clinics and hospitals have varying capacities for implementing telemedicine in the current time.

“So, it is crystal clear that this technology is something patients want because 84% of patients are more likely to select a provider that offers telemedicine over one that does not”.  It means telemedicine helps to handle patients on the front end and filter them. It helps to ensure doctors to conclude where the patients can be best cared for in the emergency department.

4. Improves clinical workflows

Telehealth services have proven to be a medical advantage by increasing clinical workflow efficiency. The services offer the conduit for faster prioritization of healthcare delivery, triaging every case, and enhancing communication by soliciting, storing, and using patient data for a better medical decision-making process.

According to the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) reports, “Telehealth is one of the best performing practices, especially during COVID -19 pandemic times”. The software is capable of facilitating performance enhancements including increasing patient satisfaction scores.

Why the sudden surge in telehealth?

According to telemedicine technology and services vendor, the healthcare sector is experiencing an unexpected rise of direct-to-consumer telemedicine providers operating at a large scale.

The main goal is to provide care to patients who might need care after having potential symptoms of coronavirus. There is also a rapid increase in demand for acute care via telemedicine. The specially tailored ICU programs offer intensive care for the most critical patients.

How are hospitals adapting to telehealth during COVID-19 era?

Healthcare organizations (hospitals and clinics are on a regular basis preparing for the crises by deploying advanced telehealth technologies. Furthermore, we will witness more number of hospitals will be relying on these technologies to limit exposure at the frontlines, and to safeguard their staff as well as other patients.

The clinics and hospitals that choose this advanced technology will reap the benefits of telehealth that extend beyond this current public health requirements as some of the others will surely come. The solution can be leveraged easily and quickly at scale, with the training of medical employees.

Final thoughts

Telemedicine is an ultimate, ready-to-use solution for addressing the deadly COVID-19 and a large number of hospitals are making all possible efforts to expand their telehealth services to better serve patients during this pandemic time. For those healthcare institutions that did not have a telemedicine facility in place prior to the outbreak or those that are combining additional services at this time, training is a big hindrance.

Fortunately, most of the providers of telemedicine offer powerful modules of training to help users launch their software. It further helps practitioners in leaning to a great extent on these resources to implement telemedicine as early as possible.

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