Add telemedicine to the lists of ways that could change your life during the coronavirus pandemic.
Hospitals are distressed. The hospital is a Petri dish of germs. And everyone is ordered to stay home and a minimum of five feet away from others.
Yet rashes are still breaking out, stomach pains and sniffles are coming and going, and children are still falling and spraining their ankles.
Patients like never before are turning to telemedicine, or virtual healthcare, to communicate with doctors and nurses without leaving homes.
Telemedicine connects patients to healthcare providers by videoconferencing, electronic consultations and interactive meetings rather than in-person consultations. In 2019, 75% of US hospitals used this technology.
During the epidemic of coronavirus, patients requesting telehealth medical assistance can alleviate the burden on doctors’ time and resources as the number of cases continue to rise. However, as patients connect with their doctors on their phones and computers for screenings and routine checkups for chronic illnesses, they can prevent the possible spread of illness by visiting the hospital.
Recently, one person travelled from Asian country Japan. Around a week ago he had a fever and cough but now he felt fine.
He recently called the virtual medical line set up Medical Center University in Chicago to help scan patients for coronavirus. “He said all the right buzzwords: cough, fever, tiredness,” said the doctor.
The doctor did not think that he needed to be admitted after talking to him but referred him to the health department of the city.
The large hospitals around the country are increasingly increasing telemedicine usage to safely screen and treat patients for coronavirus, and seeking to prevent the spread of infection while delivering remote services.
Although the notion of seeing a doctor through your device and mobile phone is hardly new, telemedicine in the US has yet to take off widespread. Health insurance plans usually give people to opportunity to speak to a nurse or doctor online as an alternative to heading to an emergency room or urgent care centre, but most people do not use it. Now doctors, hospital networks and clinics are rethinking how the technology should be used, keeping the concerned well calm and away from clinical care while steering the most at risk to the proper treatment.
Telemedicine received an additional boost under the $8.4 billion emergency funding measure from Congress, which loosened limits on its use to treating patients covered by the federal Medicare program.
During a meeting with President Trump at the white house, private health insurers have said they will pay for the virtual visits for the patient who may coronavirus to enhance access to care for their patient.