Ever since our way of living was altered due to a global pandemic, many people have widely adopted telemedicine because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. With people locked in their homes, telemedicine has become an easy and efficient way of accessing healthcare. The pandemic has changed many medical protocols, including patients not having to contact doctors for their diagnosis. According to Dr. Diego De La Mora, the chief health informatics officer at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, health professionals are increasingly adopting telemedicine to attend to patients’ needs, which haven’t stopped because of COVID 19.
As a telehealth coordinator at Texas Tech Physicians of clinics in El Paso, De La Mora has acknowledged the role of technology during this pandemic in limiting social contact and patients who aren’t comfortable going to the clinics. The clinics are still in operation for in-person visits where patients sit in an exam room with laptops that healthcare providers use to examine, communicate, and check symptoms. This enables doctors to handle patients who could be having the coronavirus without exposing themselves.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, there were close to zero telehealth visits by patients at Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso. Dr. Diego said that currently, the clinic has around 1000 telehealth visits each week. However, with the restrictions loosed up, more patients have begun to come to clinics in person, which has decreased the number of telehealth visits. An email response from the El Paso Inc. officials revealed that they had seen significant telemedicine use over the past few months, and approximately 80% of healthcare providers are currently equipped with telehealth technology.
The cost of telemedicine depends on insurance companies and what they cover. However, the technology is relatively cheaper as patients do not have to pay for building costs. Ourdoctor telemedicine company gives patients the ability to choose from various plans that can benefit just a single patient or their entire family. The technology has also proven effective for patients who want to avoid trips for in-person appointments and patients in rural communities who do not have access to hospitals.