The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily life in many ways, not least of all for the medical professionals who put their lives on the line to treat patients with a variety of ailments and coronavirus in particular. This has created an additional demand for remote healthcare alternatives that can minimize unnecessary contact between doctors and their patients and vice versa. In line with a general trend toward using the internet to provide simulations of face to face contact, technology can provide medical professionals with tools and techniques to treat their patients from afar, albeit only in a limited capacity. Here’s what you need to know.
Teleconferencing technology has been instrumental in providing the kind of direct social contact that is often missing from long distance communication, and this has been a major boon for businesses, friend groups, and even medical facilities. A routine checkup, for example, may not necessitate a hospital visit, but teleconferencing apps such as Skype can provide doctors and patients a way to conduct run of the mill appointments without direct contact. These appointments are still important, because they can help to expose any potentially troubling symptoms or monitor long term medical conditions. However, there is a certain assumption that can be made that the situation isn’t an emergency and can entail no more than a conversation unless complications arise, so the allowance can be made to conduct the appointment remotely.
If your patient has minor concerns, these concerns can be vetted via teleconferencing, as well. For example, a patient can come to you with the complaint of back pain, and you can recommend treatments they can take care of from home, such as upgrading to a supportive Mint mattress or checking their posture regularly, before worrying about conducting tests. This is especially important because of the nature of the coronavirus pandemic, because many of the symptoms of COVID are pretty run of the mill and aren’t worth a second thought in many cases. Having the ability to eliminate more benign possibilities via a Skype call before risking your patient’s safety is paramount.
The advent of wearable technology has logically led to devices such as fitness trackers that can monitor the user’s vitals in order to help them understand the state of their bodies. Naturally, this kind of technology has a direct impact on remote healthcare, because the monitoring of vitals can tell doctors a lot about their patients’ health at any given moment. More importantly, IoT technology can allow this monitoring to be done remotely with little to no work on the part of patients by integrating reporting features into the wearable device itself. In general, certain at risk patients should embrace this kind of technology as a safety precaution, because it can be used to alert medical professionals whenever there is a sudden, drastic change in the patient’s vital signs that may indicate a medical emergency such as cardiac arrest or a seizure.
Because of the importance of body temperature in diagnosing COVID infection, wearable healthcare devices can also help to keep a patient informed about his or her own risk of infection, and this can allow patients to know whether or not the risk of coronavirus infection is a logical possibility at any given moment.
Self Reporting Tools
Another crucial part of the telehealth toolkit is that of self reporting apps that can allow patients to report to their doctors various stats that fall outside of the purview of technological monitoring. For example, many medical conditions such as migraines may prompt doctors to ask their patients for notes about when they get migraines and the surrounding context needed to diagnose the underlying problem. Likewise, many medical conditions necessitate a thorough understanding of the patient’s diet, so giving the patient the ability to freely report a dietary journal can help to expose potential problem foods that can expedite diagnosis and treatment. Patients may ordinarily be asked to come in for a follow up appointment in the wake of starting a new medication for no other reason than to report any potential side effects or the efficacy of the treatment, but self reporting tools eliminate the need for that kind of appointment.
Remote healthcare services are generally beneficial, but current events have made them a necessity. Luckily, technology has a plethora of telehealth solutions for your hospital and your patients. These tools are just a few of the options available to you that can simplify the COVID pandemic.