The need to connect with physicians does not stop amidst a global pandemic. The use of telehealth is helping to bridge the gap between patients stuck at home and their providers during this time and is acting as a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19. Functioning as a screen to filter symptomatic patients and protect high-risk individuals, digital care delivery is slowing the spread of the coronavirus and preventing transmission of the diseases to non-COVID patients and medical professionals. For high-risk individuals who rely on routine medical checkups or are unable to receive healthcare because of COVID-19 restrictions, telehealth has become an invaluable alternative. Consequently, telemedicine is gaining popularity, stressing the relevance and value of virtual care now and in the future.
The Telehealth Impact:
1) Supports COVID-19 patients
The fact the COVID-19 spreads quickly from person-to-person is the reason our nation is on lockdown. Symptomatic patients are being instructed to stay home and away from the public until directed on how to proceed by their physicians. Telehealth is enabling patients to follow this instruction by giving providers a simple way to screen symptomatic individuals.
Potential COVID-19 patients that do not need care for emergent symptoms, like difficulty breathing, are monitored closely by their physicians, sometimes on a daily basis, to track the progression of their condition. This keeps symptomatic patients away from healthcare facilities, limiting the transmission of the virus to other patients or medical professionals. Through telehealth virtual screenings, providers can determine at what point the patient should seek further medical attention, if at all.
By using telehealth, these individuals still have access to their physicians, who can instruct them on how to appropriately respond in their situation in order to minimize the impact of their having the virus.
2) Caters to non-COVID Patients at High Risk
Sometimes overlooked due to the current pressure on the medical industry to address the COVID-19 pandemic, high-risk patients have limited access to the care they depend on. Patients with chronic illness rely on routine medical care to live their lives and, due to temporary coronavirus restrictions, are unable to receive that care.
Telehealth is enabling these high-risk individuals to avoid medical facilities that are housing the virus and continue receiving routine medical care through the duration of the pandemic. With telehealth, these patients can continue to visit with their physicians while staying safe in their own homes.
Since the pandemic is saturating hospitals, leaving nonpriority patients waiting or neglected in order to serve the pressing extremities at the forefront of this health crisis, telehealth ensures they are not forgotten.
3) Access to Mental Health Support
In order to avoid the spread of the virus to the mass population, individuals everywhere are being asked to practice self-isolation and social distancing. This is causing a growth in the number of individuals experiencing mental health issues as a result of a restricted social and active life. Increased levels of anxiety and depressions are being reported most frequently among young adults during this time. Access to in-person mental health assistance is limited as well as a result of the coronavirus and telehealth has offered another solution. Access to telehealth is enabling young adults and other individuals in need of mental health assistance to continue to seek treatment from behavioral health providers despite the pandemic.
4) Minimizes Risk to Healthcare Workers
Just because medical professionals are in contact with the disease on a daily basis, that does not make them immune. They are in the middle of ground zero, working with symptomatic patients and doing their best to manage the intense increase in COVID cases each and every day.
Some of the most valuable members of our community during a global health pandemic are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, and telehealth can help. More than just providing care to patients in their homes, telehealth helps providers who are forced to quarantine themselves.
Should a healthcare professional be forced to self-isolate due to the coronavirus, telehealth equips them to continue caring for patients via a telehealth platform. During a season where the time of each and every medical professional is essential against COVID-19, telehealth is helping providers do everything they can.
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