Thursday, March 26, 2020

Telemedicine at Covid-19 pandemic
Healthcare matters to everyone regardless of their location, age, or level of income.  The current global outbreak of the Covid-19 infectious disease has destroyed peoples’ day-to-day life creating a large impact on healthcare systems all around the world. Most countries have failed to sustain their healthcare services due to the sudden spike of demand. Under the current circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic, Telemedicine will be very effective to overcome these issues.

Not only Telemedicine is capable of screening large populations at risk, it can also provide convenient ways to connect people in the need to appropriate healthcare services, increasing the overall availability of healthcare access. With the help of audio and video consultations, doctors can diagnose and provide assistance for a large number of people in the community. Using Telemedicine services, patients can clarify their queries, get their symptoms checked, and receive medical guidance on connecting to proper channels without a delay.

Even though Telemedicine provides limited capability for doctors to perform physical examinations on patients, they can guide symptomatic patients to appropriate testing centers, at the same time coordinating with healthcare professionals and other stakeholders. At the same time, the general public will be able to get proper information via Telemedicine services about precautionary and other measures to control the spreading of the infection.

Infection control is an area where Telemedicine can add value in a hospital set-up. Even with highly infectious patients, continuous monitoring can be performed without a hassle. By using video cameras and other Telemedicine equipment, doctors and nurses will be able to remotely monitor vital signals without physically being at the bedside all the time. This will also eliminate the need for healthcare staff to dress up and enter the patient's room frequently.

Telemedicine can also provide sufficient medical assistance for patients who don’t actually need to go to a hospital or clinic, thereby reducing nosocomial infections and further spread of the Covid-19 virus, at the same time providing patients the comfort of their own homes without having to gather in waiting rooms or long queues. Moreover, elderly patients with immunodeficiency can be served with remote patient monitoring tools and virtual doctor services.

At the current stage of this pandemic, it is wise for healthcare organizations, institutions, and government healthcare agencies to embrace and promote Telemedicine as a viable method for controlling the disease and as a superior alternative for patients to seek medical assistance without a risk.

Dr. Harsha Jayakody is a medical doctor and a healthcare entrepreneur, who has a special interest in artificial intelligence. Click here to read more about him.


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