As the pandemic continues to take its toll on our health industry, telemedicine is gaining traction as a way for healthcare providers and caregivers to attend to patients’ needs. It provides an avenue to those affected by the virus and other immunocompromised patients who need to check in with their health providers.
Telemedicine contributes significantly to providing medical services during this crisis, and it is being utilized in many ways. However, telehealth solutions might have certain drawbacks when it comes to in-depth patient care during such times.
Nonetheless, proper implementation of telemedicine will significantly contribute to hospital overcrowding. Especially in today’s situation, medical institutions are beginning to adapt to remote patient monitoring.
The Context of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is proving to be a successful and long-term option for COVID-19 diagnosis, treatment, and prevention throughout this global pandemic. It’s closing the gap that exists due to social distancing protocols.
Furthermore, it allows everyone, particularly symptomatic individuals, to remain at home and interact with doctors using virtual platforms, reducing the transmission of the virus to large populations and medical personnel on the front lines.
Through interactive telemedicine, there is real-time communication between the physician and the patient. It can take place anywhere, may it be in clinics or at home.
So, how does a virtual consultation happen? It starts with patients selecting their preferred communication channels. It can either be through a phone call or video conferencing. From there, the doctor will perform regular diagnosis routines, including queries about their signs and symptoms. Depending on the results, ancillary orders may follow.
Online Medication and Treatment
Physicians can also give prescriptions for the patients through virtual methods. However, the law still enforces certain limitations. Some medicines are not allowed to be prescribed unless there is a physical consultation with the physician.
This strategy is advantageous to both parties because patients wouldn’t need to go to a primary hospital or emergency care clinic for a minor consultation. It’s also a safe alternative, especially the post-operative patients and geriatrics.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Patients can upload test results for the physician to check and provide in-depth patient care. With the use of appropriate applications and systems, these data undergo proper storage and transmission. It gives medical professionals ease of access and enables them to respond to patient queries quickly.
For many institutions, ServiceNow healthcare solutions provide an efficient way to streamline workflow in telehealth facilities. This software prevents unnecessary errors and improves patient outcomes.
Data Transfer and Referral
Depending on the patients’ condition, the doctor can refer the patient to another specialist for better treatment. Telemedicine channels use several data banks that help collect and store patient information. After a successful referral, the institution will transfer all patient information to the respective specialist for further diagnosis, including their medical history.
Since our transition to telemedicine has come rapidly, it’s not surprising that specific challenges are present.
Expertise and Connectivity Issues
Problems can arise, especially when there is a lack of expertise in new technologies between both sides. More so, internet connectivity and bugs in web clients can also have a significant contribution that might hinder the consultation flow. Fortunately, most telemedicine operators give comprehensive training modules to assist customers in launching their software.
Currently, the most obvious drawback to telehealth implementation is that, although some hospitals have physicians willing to provide treatment in this manner, most institutions are not well-equipped. Both public and private practices don’t have enough funding to cater to everyone’s telehealth needs.
Due to the nature of not physically examining the patient, physicians might have some level of difficulty in providing an accurate diagnosis to the patient. Because of the existing health protocols, physicians will only rely on what the patient will state and deliver.
With what’s happening in the world today, everyone’s safety continues to be the topmost priority. Health organizations are taking the initiative to utilize and increase funding in telemedicine. The government and other commercial insurance companies have changed their policies to encourage its usage in response to the ongoing public health crisis.
Telemedicine as a treatment alternative for the public is an excellent way to face the current pandemic’s challenges. Improving on the dynamics of telemedicine will surely be the future of the medical field.
Many countries are finding ways to enhance the interaction of physicians and patients in telemedicine. Sure, there is a period of adjustment to utilizing telehealth between patients and doctors. Nonetheless, advocacies to push through telemedicine will significantly help the community, especially in rural areas where physicians are scarce.