Containment and control remain the highest priorities to slow down the Coronavirus situation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are urging hospitals and clinics to expand their use of telehealth services to help triage the sick. The Coronavirus legislation is beginning to wave some of the restrictions for Medicare telehealth coverage in outbreak areas. This gives telehealth widespread adoption with a new use case to reinvent itself as a key delivery mechanism for care.
Telehealth has an opportunity to showcase its benefits in enabling healthcare providers to care for and treat patients that are in-home isolation (confirmed cases) as well as for presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 that are in self-isolation. Not only this will reduce person-to-person infection risks across local communities and for healthcare professionals using virtual appointments, but it will also give healthcare professionals as many tools as possible in treating patients.
With the addition of wearable digital health tools, remote patient monitoring will be made more comprehensive in providing optimized care for patients. As most people who contract COVID-19 will have mild symptoms and make a full recovery, having a healthcare delivery mechanism for care for this patient population that is remote to treat a highly contagious virus will ensure healthcare facilities are not overcrowded for those that are experiencing severe symptoms.
With such a rapidly evolving situation, many people are scared and they are seeking clinical guidance and information via digital methods for suspected symptoms (possibly due to social distancing reasons), therefore being able to quickly schedule a virtual appointment or to communicate directly with their provider via patient portals offers quick, convenient access to care.
The potential of telehealth outweighs the limitations that once existed. Leveraging telehealth to provide access to and deliver healthcare services during the situation of a highly contagious virus offers opportunities beyond virus containment and control, extending towards cost savings, efficient healthcare delivery, healthcare that’s accessible to more people and potential to improve the quality of healthcare to name a few.