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The Role of Telemedicine During the COVID19 Pandemic

Published 2021-05-19 07:26:28

 

While telemedicine in the medical field is not new, the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has increased its rate of adoption within the last year. Practices such as mandatory social distancing and stringent travel restrictions have made telemedicine one of the safest solutions for patients, both infected and uninfected, and clinicians.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), telemedicine is broadly defined as the delivery of healthcare services at a distance using electronic means for the diagnosis of treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and education of health- care providers.1 Telemedicine services can be provided through portable devices such as laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Due to the evolution of mobile electronics and increased access to the internet, telemedicine has given healthcare providers a way to offer remote medical support to patients.

Virtual Consultation

Telemedicine services have played an important role in supporting public health mitigation strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing social distancing. By shifting physical consultations to virtual platforms, patients at higher risk of infection, such as those with chronic conditions, have reduced their chances of contracting and transmitting COVID-19. As a result, staff exposure to ill persons are reduced, and the likelihood of in-facility COVID patient surges is minimised, leading to reduced strain on healthcare facility resources such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

Virtual consultations have proved to be a useful tool for supporting non-severe COVID-19 patients, ensuring access and continuity of care while simultaneously contributing to the reduction of consultation costs.

Furthermore, mental health services have also benefited from the utilisation of telemedicine technology. In addition to the delivery of psychiatric and psychological services to public individuals, telemedicine has given way to the provision of mental health services for clinical teams at high risk of mental distress because of exposure to infected patients.2 

Lynx HCF supports mental health screening, COVID-19 patient management and features virtual consultation.

Learn more about Lynx HCF.

Patient Monitoring

Remote monitoring through telemedicine technology has played a significant role in patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote patient monitoring has provided healthcare providers with a way to remotely manage patients who are quarantined, hospitalised, discharged, and live with chronic conditions.

With remote patient monitoring, a patient’s vital statistics, such as blood pressure, oxygen level, blood glucose, weight, temperature, and other metrics can be monitored and delivered to their healthcare provider in real-time. Healthcare providers can then receive the results and make quicker decisions as to what actions should be taken.

The advent of wearable devices such as blood glucose monitors and ECG’s (electrocardiogram) are great examples of real-world patient monitoring. Through these wearable devices, clinicians and patients can connect and share information without incurring costs associated with in-person visits.

Kardia Mobile 6L is a portable ECG monitor that allows patients to track their heart health from the comfort of their own homes.

Learn more about Kardia Mobile.

Symptom Screening and Contact Tracing

Self-screening services have also lent a hand in the mitigation of workplace, school, and public disease transmission. Online screening tools, and mobile applications have been used to evaluate patients for COVID-19 symptoms, assess the severity of their symptoms, and whether the patient needs to be seen for an evaluation, admitted to the hospital, or whether their conditions can be managed remotely.

Telemedicine has also been used to telephonically interview patients with COVID-19 to determine who they were in contact with. It also allows for providing valuable information on when to quarantine, symptom assessment and next steps.  

To assist institutions, workplaces, and public individuals in mitigating COVID-19 infections, Lynx Virtual was developed to allow users to complete an online  COVID-19 symptom screening form, from any Android or iOS compatible device.

Learn more about Lynx Virtual.

Education and Training

In addition to patient-centred services, telemedicine has supported thousands of hours of distance learning for healthcare professionals. Distance learning in the form of teleconferencing, online courses, and instructor-led sessions have contributed to the ongoing education of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

By using e-learning platforms such as TRISCOMS, learners and teachers have been able to interact in real-time to present documents, participate in discussions, and complete assessments as you would in traditional learning environments.

Learn more about the eLearning platform, TRISCOMS.

Qode Education has supported the online education of thousands of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Visit Qode Education

 

References

1. World Health Organization. Opportunities and Developments TELEMEDICINE in Member States Report on the Second Global Survey on EHealth Global Observatory for EHealth Series -Volume 2 2010. , 2010.

2. Monaghesh, Elham, and Alireza Hajizadeh. “The Role of Telehealth during COVID-19 Outbreak: A Systematic Review Based on Current Evidence.” BMC Public Health, vol. 20, no. 1, 1 Aug. 2020, 10.1186/s12889-020-09301-4.

 

 

 

 

 

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