Some countries have successfully flattened the curve in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. These countries have loosened up a bit to alleviate other concerns about the virus, i.e., the economy. But for some parts of the world, the battle is yet to be won.
The global scientific community has been hustling hard in finding a solution that can end this health crisis — the discovery of a vaccine. Some pharmaceutical companies are now conducting clinical trials, the last phase of approval before the vaccine will be distributed to the public.
As we continue to live through our lives through this pandemic without a vaccine, our most robust defense line is still proper hygiene and physical distancing. We must continue to do our part to ensure that our healthcare system won’t collapse if we follow safety protocols and not contract the virus. This is the more breathing space we give our medical professionals.
During the onslaught of the virus, the hospitals were overwhelmed. Everyone in the medical field is scrambling to give aid to patients. Since COVID-19 was an urgent matter to attend to, it took some time for them to adjust their dynamics to cater to those whose illnesses are not COVID-19 related.
Even before this pandemic, telehealth has been taking advantage of in some areas. But when the pandemic happened, it became a force for it to truly take off. The hospital is the last place you want to be because it is considered one of the most high-risk areas to contract the virus.
What if you need that consultation? Well, digital health is here to the rescue! You can consult your doctor without the need to go to the hospital. This arrangement is very much useful for those whose cases are not urgent and for those who belong to vulnerable groups (i.e., senior citizens, the immune-compromised, pregnant women, and those with comorbidities).
How exactly does telehealth help? Here are two areas:
Screening, Triage, and Follow Up Appointments
Telehealth is effective for these kinds of consultations. Instead of going to the hospital for these basic procedures, the medical professional can diagnose and treat it via online consultation. This is very advantageous, especially to the vulnerable groups, as mentioned above. This will lower the risk for them to contract the virus and pass it on to their caregivers and immediate family.
Telehealth or online consultation is also best for those whose cases are not urgent. For instance, you are experiencing some stomach pains. The medical professional can prescribe medicine over an online consultation. If the pain goes away afterward, imagine if you had to go to the hospital just for that because there was no online consultation available? You just risked your like for something that is not life-threatening.
Health Apps for Data Capturing and Recording of Vital Signs
These AI-powered health apps allowed medical professionals to monitor their patients’ condition without the need to go near them. This is particularly helpful during the period when test kits were still scarce. It will take some time to get the result.
During the waiting period, medical professionals can continually monitor their patients’ status through these health apps. They have access to patients’ information via patient portals so they can monitor, check, and be updated with their patients. This method can be applied even to non-COVID-19 related patients. The health professional can continually check the vitals and make sound decisions based on that.
The use of telehealth is here to stay even after COVID-19. Currently, it is a method that works because it addresses the patient’s health concerns while keeping all parties safe.
In the future, more and more technology will be used to make telehealth more efficient. The use of this new technology in medicine can bring forth convenience like never before. COVID-19 has paved the way for digital health, and this crisis will serve as a test to further improve this medical method.