Coronavirus, also COVID-19 (the respiratory diseases caused by the virus), has been threatening to be a global pandemic and already claimed an estimated 5,000 lives. With new reports of the illness surfacing in different places, many operations have come to a halt, including the suspension of public gatherings. As researchers search for a functional vaccine and treatment for affected patients, congress has been voting on funding Medicare waivers for telemedicine and telehealth services.
The HIMSS (Health Information and Management System Society) canceled their Florida conference last week as a precaution to avoid contracting the deadly virus. In this wake, telehealth lobbyists have spotted the opportunity to push its adoption, citing evidence from the epidemic as a sufficient sample of the value of telemedicine. Telemedicine has emerged as the most effective approach to avoid contact with coronavirus.
New Message for Patients
If you fear that you are infected with the coronavirus, doctors and nurses have a new message. Use the phone first. More doctors involved with coronavirus are steering patients, with mild to severe flu symptoms, towards non-contact telemedicine healthcare. This includes visits conducted via telephone, secure messaging or interactive videos, and web conferencing. The same healthcare system is deployed for providing care remotely to those infected or suspected to have COVID-19.
Telemedicine isn’t novel as it has long been used to expedite care during flu seasons. It allows caregivers to provide instructions and valuable information to affected patients remotely. This form of medical care also allows the doctor to monitor and track the progress of their patients. Besides ruling out contact with the virus, telemedicine reduces long queues at the facility and provides instant help through remote communication technologies.
But How Effective Is Telemedicine in Virus Management?
According to experts, COVID-19 is similar to influenza in its airborne transmission and symptoms manifestation. As such, the same methodologies are used when evaluating patients suspected to be infected. However, there are several challenges telemedicine faces, especially when it comes to organizing actual on-site treatment for patients in severe stages.