The Covid-19 pandemic has had health care providers risking their own lives to save their patients. However, during the current pandemic, telemedicine, one of the recent developments in healthcare, has emerged as one of the sustainable and powerful tools in healthcare for both treatment and prevention of the spread of coronavirus.

What is Telemedicine:

While “tele” represents telecommunication channels, “medicine” translates to diagnosing and treating patients. In other words, what telemedicine essentially does is help symptomatic patients to communicate with health care professionals without having to travel to a hospital through virtual channels. Telemedicine healthcare makes it easier for patients to follow the social distancing rule as they have access to doctors without risking their chances of getting infections by visiting a hospital. This technology also allows healthcare professionals to cope with the rise in demand for healthcare services without having to neglect a few of their patients.

Here are the benefits of Telemedicine:

1. Prevents Covid-19 Infections: Telemedicine can help HealthCare professional prevention and contain the spread of coronavirus. Patients who are suffering from Covid-19 symptoms can access healthcare without having to travel and infect other patients in the hospital/ healthcare providers who are in contact with them. Social distancing is the only measure that can help reduce the spread of coronavirus infections and telemedicine healthcare facilitates it.

2. Reduces Overcrowding in Hospitals: Overcrowding of Emergency Departments is not only expensive and dangerous for patients during the current pandemic, but has also led to healthcare workers compromising on the quality of care and patient satisfaction. Thankfully, telemedicine healthcare systems are now minimizing overcrowding in hospitals and clinics by diagnosing and treating low-acuity patients while also avoiding any potential harmful human exposures and fostering the delivery of high-quality healthcare.

3. Identify Critical Cases: Telemedicine can be used to check for signs of COVID-19 and to examine patients for potential infection. To test the patients for Coronavirus infections at a faster pace physicians can resort to using video/audio calls for online check-ups and also utilize online self-test platforms. This can help them determine the seriousness of the symptoms and deduce if the patient requires to be called for an in-person assessment, hospitalized, or treated at their home itself.

4. Helps Non-COVID-19 Patients get Access to Healthcare: Telemedicine helps healthcare providers continually offer regular healthcare services to patients suffering from other health concerns. Doctors can easily evaluate patients through virtual channels and determine whether an in-patient visit is required or not. Follow-up appointments can also be conducted over the internet or calls. Thus, telemedicine allows doctors to remotely conduct routine check-ups and prescribe medicines, virtually reducing the number of in-person visits in general.

5. Helps Monitor Patients: One of the major advantages of telemedicine is that it allows for remote monitoring of patients, without having to carry out a physical examination multiple times. Doctors can monitor patients from time to time and check-in with asymptomatic patients or patients with moderate symptoms through telemedicine healthcare channels such as video and audio calls, text messaging, or other mobile applications while they are quarantined at home and save their hospital beds for more severe cases.

6. Cost-Effective: Telemedicine minimizes healthcare costs and improves productivity through efficient chronic disease management, shared health professional manpower, shortened patient wait times, and less or shorter stays in the hospital. Healthcare professionals are offered the flexibility to stay available online or unavailable; this further enables them to provide healthcare at a subsidized cost.

7. Improves Reach: Telemedicine has made it easier for healthcare professionals to track who the Covid-19 affected patients were in contact with during the time they were potentially symptomatic, then inform those individuals to self-quarantine and observe if they develop symptoms after the 14-day wait period.

Healthcare providers can also reach out to people living in remote areas and assist them without any hassle through telemedicine channels. Telemedicine is helping healthcare professionals to reach out to other patients in need from their offices without having to travel.

8. Access to Specialists: Telemedicine can be utilized by healthcare facilities to communicate with professionals and healthcare specialists who have expertise in respiratory illnesses such as Coronavirus. Telemedicine healthcare systems encompassing electronic connections, real-time video, and audio channels can be used to bridge the gap between critical care teams and patients admitted in remote ICUs. These systems can also be used by healthcare experts to train other physicians and healthcare workers and to spread awareness among patients about Coronavirus.

In conclusion, telemedicine can be a great tool for healthcare workers, especially during these trying times. It is important to encourage facilities such as hospitals and clinics to adopt this new technology as healthcare professionals are still unwilling to utilize telemedicine. It is not practical to expect physicians to lead the telemedicine revolution, healthcare facilities need to create a comprehensive telemedicine strategy and include this technology into their daily practice.