The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has served to highlight the importance of telemedicine – or telehealth as it is also called – in modern life. With practices having to radically alter their working practices, remote booking, diagnosis, ongoing monitoring, and communication between professionals have become the norm. Here are 8 reasons why telehealth is, more than ever, here to stay.
1: Online medical records – not only can a doctor access a patient’s records easily and quickly online using a telehealth system, but the patient can also be asked to fill in forms that may help with a diagnosis before a remote appointment thus saving time for all involved.
2: Virtual appointments – coronavirus has given us insight into the usefulness of virtual appointments. Patients can contact the doctor and describe or write down symptoms, and give them any more information they can, and the doctor can diagnose and prescribe using this information, all without the need for face to face appointments that may lead to the spread of viruses.
3: Chronic condition monitoring – the telemedicine technology companies have already made available equipment that can remotely monitor blood pressure, heart rate, glucose and oxygen levels, and more, allowing both patient and doctor to keep an eye on chronic illnesses using an app on a smartphone. This is an area that will expand in scope as technology improves.
4: Online ordering portal – should a patient require a prescription they can ask for it using a secure online portal. A professional can check the prescription if it is appropriate and sign it off online, and then it can be forwarded to the pharmacy through apps like packapill for processing and delivery by just uploading the prescription. Convenience is one of the major benefits of telehealth.
5: Direct communication – with modern telehealth technology medical professionals can communicate in real-time with each other to discuss elements of a case. This can even extend as far as being remotely involved in the surgery. Virtual meeting systems can be used internally in a hospital or to talk to people in a different state or country whose advice and expertise may be needed.
6: Ordering supplies – telehealth systems can be devised to keep up with ordering of regular and essential medical supplies, and this can be automated to an extent. Just as we can use such re-ordering systems in the home, so a hospital or medical practice can ensure it is always fully stocked.
7: Emergency response – an integrated emergency response system within the telehealth network can enable First Responders to attend to emergencies more quickly and alert all others who need to know in real-time. This is a life-saving technology that cannot be overlooked.
8: Overall convenience – from booking appointments to sharing information, the overall convenience of telehealth in the 21st century – even post COVID 19 – is something we can all benefit from. As technology improves so will the efficiency of telehealth systems, and this modern way of working has a place in the future of medicine in terms of analysis, diagnosis and treatment, and much more besides.