Posted: April 22, 2020
COVID-19 continues to spread around the world with confirmed cases in the United States reaching almost 835,000 as of April 22nd, 2020. As these numbers continue to grow, hospitals and healthcare workers must consider how they will accommodate the influx of sick patients while protecting the health and safety of other patients and staff.
Although most organizations have implemented social distancing and special cleaning policies, these measures aren’t always feasible, especially in a busy hospital or waiting room. Over the past few weeks, healthcare providers around the U.S. have begun using telemedicine to reach more patients and help reduce the spread of disease.
During a remote visit, a doctor or other healthcare provider uses special video conferencing software to connect with patients. These visits can take place from any location in the world. The patient and doctor do not have to live in the same city, county, or state. Video chats can occur at any time that is convenient for the provider and the patient. Patients do not have to worry about locating childcare, getting time off work, or traveling to an office visit. They also do not have to worry about exposing themselves to potentially life-threatening illness.
After a thorough evaluation, the provider can determine whether an in-person appointment is necessary. In addition to providing a convenient option for both patients and doctors, this method also helps prevent unnecessary visits to hospitals and medical facilities, ensuring plenty of beds for those that need them.
Through telemedicine tools, healthcare providers can diagnose a wide range of conditions. During a remote appointment, healthcare providers ask many of the same screening questions they would in an office setting. If the healthcare provider suspects COVID-19, they can follow CDC guidelines and direct the patient for testing and quarantine.
Telemedicine has proven extremely useful for early detection of COVID-19 infection. Using telecommunication technology enables healthcare providers to reach more people in a shorter amount of time than possible at a medical facility. It also allows doctors to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients in remote areas who have limited access to care. Using a computer or other device that connects to the Internet, healthcare providers can offer medical services to individuals around the U.S., while reducing the risk of exposure for themselves or others in a medical office environment.
Before COVID-19, most of us ignored common symptoms like cough, fever, and body aches. Today, these symptoms can cause panic. It’s important that patients have a way to meet with their doctor as soon as possible when symptoms appear. Although many cases will end up being diagnosed as the common cold or flu, getting assurance via video conference is both fast and easy.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of telemedicine, conducting remote visits over the Internet reduces the amount of exposure by keeping patients away from others. In addition to patients experiencing the symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection, telemedicine also helps prevent exposure to infected people that aren’t experiencing any symptoms.
During this uncertain time, telemedicine provides an excellent alternative to traditional office visits. Telemedicine reduces exposure, helps patients get diagnosed and treated quicker, and allows healthcare professionals to see more patients in a shorter amount of time.
Let’s Talk Interactive provides HIPAA-compliant telemedicine solutions for doctors and other healthcare providers. Please contact us for more information about our telemedicine platform.