The COVID-19 pandemic came with many changes. We had to adapt to being socially distanced and adjust other behaviors around new information about the virus as it became available. One of the most impacted fields was healthcare, which experienced newfound popularity and an increased focus on tele health. According to the United Nations Development Program, “Tele medicine was the first step in reducing COVID-19 transmission, especially for heavily exposed healthcare professionals, as well as patients. It reduced the possibility of direct physical contact between patients and medical workers where necessary”. Tele health quickly became a solution; a way for healthcare to keep taking care of clients without being exposed to the virus.
Even in the new normal, one where vaccines and increased exposures have significantly decreased the perceived severity of COVID-19, tele health is still operating as a viable option for your healthcare needs, and the world is continuing to take advantage of it. Currently, there are different models of virtual visits in both physical and mental health that benefit both the patient and the healthcare professional. With this in mind, we want to discuss some of the most notable ways tele health has been improved over the past two years.
One of the most universal truths about good healthcare professionals is that they care for their clients. This extends just as much into tele health as well. Through newly developed improvements to keep delivering their services and monitor the status of their patients, even from afar, tele health professionals have proven their desire to offer the best possible services all while operating remotely. In healthcare, patients are always first, and the doctors and nurses that worked through the pandemic have taught us how important it is to work with passion and determination. The Senior VP of Advocacy for the American Medical Association echoed this point by saying, “The expansion of tele health and the offering of new tele health services that were not previously covered really enabled physicians to care for their patients in the midst of this crisis. We have moved forward a decade in the use of tele medicine in this country and it’s going to become, and will remain, an increasingly important part of physician practices going forward.” It is clear that, whether remotely or in a doctor’s office, the priority remains on the welfare of the patient no matter what.
Tele health Apps
Another thing that came as a result of the pandemic was the development of different healthcare apps. The primary goal was to keep track of patient development without having to go to an appointment, as doing so was deemed unsafe by local government officials and healthcare professionals. According to Sorogi Health, “Remote monitoring allows individuals to maintain their independence, reduces office visits, bridges gaps in care, and prevents complications.” This means that clients with a variety of diagnoses including diabetes, hypertension, and more can monitor their status and discuss their health conditions with their primary care provider to continue or change the treatment depending on their results. All this from the comfort and security of their own home.
Virtual Urgent Care
Last but not least, one of the advancements that came with the pandemic was access to virtual urgent care. This way, patients can be treated from home with a healthcare professional on the other side of the screen. Virtual urgent care gave patients the immediacy they needed in different situations. It also can help prevent the spread of contagious viruses, including COVID-19, to other patrons and workers. It has also been proven effective at reducing unnecessary visits to the ER, according to a Cigna study which stated, “Virtual urgent care visits reduced duplication of care by 16% compared to other virtual primary care providers or specialists.” When you factor in additional benefits such as allowing underprivileged individuals an increased ability to get assistance for their healthcare needs, the implementation of virtual urgent cares has truly been a win-win.
Sometimes, you need medical assistance immediately. While the COVID-19 pandemic was undoubtedly tragic, a silver lining has been the increased popularity of tele health services that place your primary doctor one phone call or virtual conference away.