In just the last few weeks, since the coronavirus began wide-ranging across the globe, telemedicine has emerged as one of the most qualified services around the world. Almost every healthcare provider has transitioned their clinical practice to telemedicine. So, will this expanded access to telemedicine continue even after the coronavirus pandemic? Let’s have a look at telemedicine’s existence in the future.
Telemedicine before pandemic
Telehealth’s potential has always revolved around bringing the doctor to the patient, irrespective of their location, but the only healthcare beneficiaries that qualified for telemedicine services before COVID-19, had to be seen in these circumstances:
- Healthcare region outside the metropolitan area
- Heath provider shortage in a rural tract
- Connect to healthcare specialists at different location.
The market place wasn’t quite productive because there wasn’t any sincere demand for infrastructure related to telemedicine but, the dynamic of the telemedicine is changing with the shift to consumer-based care. Now, specialists are developing their own infrastructure to launch their own telehealth platform to consumers, offering their services online much like a banker, real estate agent, or another business person.
Telemedicine during the pandemic
COVID-19 has prompted a rapid adoption of telemedicine. The pandemic has changed the way patients and doctors interact with each other. Due to global lockdown like situation and risk of infection, people are not going to clinics and healthcare organizations to consult with doctors physically. This situation had put them both to adopt telemedicine as the platform to communicate.
Providers who previously didn’t offer telehealth services, are now struggling hard to implement the technology at their place of work. Adoption of telemedicine prevents clinicians from being infected by COVID-positive patients and also protects patients from potentially contracting the coronavirus from the frontline healthcare providers – which is now a day a very real risk in a complex and chaotic healthcare environment.
Telemedicine and virtual connectivity are creating a more efficient, organized healthcare continuum during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Telemedicine, post COVID-19
“This toothpaste is not going back into the tube. Telehealth will be the new normal after the coronavirus pandemic subsides.”
Telemedicine has been a boon to all healthcare providers during the coronavirus pandemic. It has proved that telemedicine is here to stay forever.
Illness does not stop before nor it will stop after the pandemic. The COVID 19 has helped more and more people to come out of their pre-mindset of receiving face to face healthcare and access telemedicine as a mode of receiving healthcare. Due to the acceptance of new technology and belief on the same, there will be lots of new users coming on board in the near future.
The pandemic has already helped providers to develop infrastructure for telemedicine technology. Several states have also waived certain licensure and other restrictions to permit expanded telemedicine services during the pandemic. Many insurers are also expanding access and reducing costs for their members. Therefore, a good range of providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers, will now be able to offer telehealth to their patients.
Add on technology upgrades like Artificial Intelligence (AI), telemedicine can be used in broader terms. For example – Telemedicine digital solution with integrated Patient EMR/EHRand cloud-connected medical devices and sensors such as ECG, Spo2, BP, temperature, pulse oximeter, and blood sugar carries real-time information sharing between machine and remote doctor, which helps in expanding value-based healthcare to remote patients.
Telemedicine is here to stay, and it holds the future of healthcare practice. The patients will ultimately benefit the providers who can figure out how to incorporate safe, effective, and efficient telehealth services into their practices.