What potential changes can coronavirus bring to the healthcare system?
As the must-not-be-named virus grows across the whole world, the urgent need for innovative solutions in the healthcare sector increases.
We all must be aware that our health system and the way we see medicine and doctors were built and designed for an era where the patients could only access medicine by going physically to clinics. But, right now, we are experiencing an unprecedented opportunity for the develop a strong response to the crisis with telehealth and innovative technology solutions. These all are demanded by hospitals and clinics that have sent mild-virus cases to their homes and nursing centers to avoid more contact and to have enough beds for those who really need them.
By acknowledging that the majority of cases can be resolved without continuous personal evaluations, we can comprehend that doctors can provide their services and care remotely. This could really make the healthcare system way more efficient, as it would reduce hospitalization costs, would ease the healthcare system freeing up beds for graver cases. It would also minimize contagion risks and provide more comfort to the patient by isolating themselves in their homes.
But what exactly is telehealth? And why it can be revolutionary? Telehealth includes many services: from scheduling our appointments online, going through monitoring some health signs using internet-connected monitoring equipment, to guiding an appointment and cases via video chat.
This method is an essential solution for doctors and nurses in avoiding direct contact with infected patients. Contagion rates among doctors are somewhat high, and many are due to contact with mild or asymptomatic cases. With the crisis close to reaching its worse point, the healthcare system cannot lose any more doctors. Thus, all healthcare professionals that are at the frontline fighting against the COVID-19 will be very grateful for an increase in telehealth to mitigate face to face contact.
Telehealth also is being encouraged by the public and private sectors. Right now, the European Union is now aware that many of its countries, such as Italy, suffer from significant deficits of healthcare professionals, along with unexpected difficulties in the access to medical services. Some of these European countries are now taking telehealth more seriously, as we can see how The ‘Ministere des Solidarites et de la Sante’ (the French health ministry) encouraged telehealth solutions for their population. The US isn’t falling behind on this race. Authorities announced a massive financial investment to ensure that the most affected zones by the virus get telehealth and technological devices that can help them step forward a transition to telehealth solutions.
From any perspective, telehealth seems a wise way to go. Some of the countries that have been exemplar dealing with the coronavirus used telemedicine widely to avoid further contact with infected individuals. Others are following suit. Coronavirus seems to be about to bring significant growth in telehealth and to change the way healthcare providers approach medical attention radically.