Telemedicine in COVID-19 Crisis: Can it be a safe solution?
Previous Telemedicine records show a reduction in new hospital admissions and readmissions. Though its adoption emerges amid the new virus pandemic, is it meeting the needs?
Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in nationwide lockdown by most countries in the world. While healthcare facilities and services are falling short in many affected areas, telemedicine is emerging to be the possible best solution as the first line of defense.
The developed countries such as the US, Europe, Australia are no exception to the inadequate healthcare facilities struggle. Consequently, the global healthcare crisis is heading people toward telemedicine in primary health services.
What’s the situation?
A few telemedicine and e-healthcare startups suggest that there has been a sudden increase in the number of consultation patients since the lockdown was declared in most countries in the world. Startups are coming out to help patients from around the world.
Such help is not limited to startups and private e-healthcare setups. Many government bodies are also seen supporting netizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of them are funding e-healthcare organizations since the medium prevents disease to the masses.
Most importantly, the restrictive policies led down by many countries and government bodies are now getting loose. Hence, the industry sees a silver lining in the global emergency situation like COVID-19.
Apart from government support, many US and European insurance companies have come forward to support telemedicine setups. They have agreed to pay for the virtual visits of people who are showing coronavirus symptoms.
Advantages while fighting COVID-19:
- The constant travel journeys by global citizens have taken coronavirus to places where adequate healthcare facilities haven’t reached yet. In such testing times, telemedicine does its best by reaching out to as many people as possible.
- Recession and financial pressure on the global economy are already peeping through the after-effects of COVID-19. Telemedicine is a cost-effective solution that can help reduce financial stress on the healthcare industry and governments.
- Telemedicine has reportedly resulted in a reduction in the number of hospital admissions and readmissions. In times where countries are trying their best to avoid crowded, filled hospitals can increase the chances of virus disease spread. With the help, e-healthcare bodies can actually take control of hospital admissions numbers to a great extent.
- Most importantly, the industry offers safety in the times of coronavirus outbreak which traditional healthcare systems lack. Time has already come when you may or may not show COVID-19 symptoms, you have to take utmost precautions to ensure that you don’t get infected by the disease through your hospital visits. Telemedicine cuts down such hospital visits and fills the gap ensuring the safety of both doctors and patients.
- Despite the e-healthcare combating the traditional health care facility gap, many healthcare providers argue on the risks involved in such practices. According to them, patients cannot be put to risks if they are diagnosed with diseases that require the earliest medical attention.
- Even though telemedicine acts as the first line of defense, the patient has to visit the hospital if he’s the victim of coronavirus or any other serious health issue. Hence, the industry cannot solve the problem of handling critical health cases.
What can be done:
- If patients who have potentially higher risks of infection wish to visit a doctor for a regular checkup, they can be shifted to telemedicine, thereby avoiding crowded places.
- Hospitals can be better prepared for People who show coronavirus symptoms and are speculated to be corona-positive through telemedicine.
Many such ground rules have to be framed if telemedicine adoption is viewed as one of the many ways to fight coronavirus. It indeed has potential which can be leveraged during such times of emergency. However, future prospects have to be taken into account for both patients and doctors.