Because of the Covid-19 pandemic that makes many people think twice before leaving their home, even access to essential services like healthcare is rather limited at the moment. This has lead to a lot more attention being brought to the field of telemedicine and online doctor services, the healthcare sector that focuses on providing certain services remotely, through the use of digital tools such as smartphone apps or video calling software. But where does telemedicine fit in?
How Telemedicine Is Used During a Pandemic
One can distinguish two separate roles of telemedicine here: in relation to the Covid-19 virus, and separate from it.
First, let’s consider how telemedicine can help governments manage this global health crisis better. The CDC underlines a few key applications of telemedicine solutions for this purpose:
- Screening for Covid-19 symptoms
- Contact tracing
- Monitoring the symptoms of those confirmed with Covid-19, and providing them with specialized care
- Monitoring the recovery of Covid-19 patients
Additionally, the CDC stresses that using such methods makes it a lot easier to gather essential data that can help healthcare workers understand the virus and disease better. This means that the virus and the way it is affecting people can be better tracked, allowing for fast action not just in terms of how you treat people. For example, these tools could indicate a spike in confirmed cases in a particular area, in which case local governments can act accordingly and try to prevent it from spreading.
Another big benefit of these tools in this context is that by limiting the number of in-patient visits with those suspected of having Covid-19, you can also protect essential healthcare workers better.
There have been major concerns regarding the safety of these workers from the beginning of the pandemic, as many hospitals did not have sufficient resources to ensure their doctors, nurses, and other people are completely protected.
Other Health Concerns Can Be Addressed as Well
Even if wearing a facemask and washing one’s hands properly becomes a routine, the fact of the matter is that the best way to protect yourself from the virus is to limit the number of places you go to, and the number of people you see.
This can mean that a lot of people stop having access to medical services, for different reasons:
- Not wanting to risk exposure
- Suffering from pre-existing conditions that make the risk of contracting Covid-19 even higher
- Medical facilities closing for non-urgent and non-Covid-19 needs, etc.
But through telehealth, people can still access essential medical services from the comfort of their home, and not risk a potential Covid-19 infection.
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