The consequences of COVID-19 are noticeable in the day-to-day operations in the healthcare sector, and it is evident that telemedicine is at the epicenter of patient care. At its best, telemedicine is so far an efficient way for physicians to connect with patients, especially now that social distancing is necessary.
Besides reducing the ballooning health care cost, physicians use this new approach to manage time, provide online assessment, make appointments, consult with other hospital personnel, meet patients, and be next to kin. Nonetheless, this communication technology has downsides. For instance, there is a need to balance patient needs and the patient care provider’s availability. Currently, there is a risk over-straining the healthcare resources, especially when doctors must respond to patient’s needs 24-7.
A new communication channel that meets patient convenience and, consequently, limits doctors’ distractions are needed for telemedicine to succeed during the current pandemic and beyond. There is a need for a platform that meets the following essential criteria for telehealth to achieve:
- Patients and other health care providers must connect on a universal platform. Having one platform for all parties will minimize errors and unnecessary voluminous work.
- The platform should have a feature that allows the patient’s care team to communicate freely regardless of location, office, organization, and electronic health record source. Information for a particular doctor must flow swiftly without unnecessarily disturbing that doctor or colleagues.
- The telemedicine platform must minimize data overload and errors by allowing direct communication among caregivers.
- The platform must be patient-centered. It must allow customers to consent to medical procedures, access, and share information.
- The platform must prioritize patient needs as well as the doctor’s time and privacy.
- The platform should guarantee the privacy and integrity of patient data by securing a HIPAA-compliance certificate.
- It must have a feature allowing physicians to secure patients’ consent.
In a nutshell, there is a need for universal distraction-free communication technology to enhance practice management and communications in the healthcare sector during this viral pandemic and beyond.