The world is becoming more digitized, with technology now being used to enhance all sectors including healthcare. There are lots of developments that are evidence of this including the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning, telehealth services, wearable technology, and more to offer accessible and improved healthcare services.
Telehealth services, in particular, stands out because it allows patients to consult with physicians, set appointments, and receive healthcare services wherever they may be. In this article, we are going to explore how telehealth is transforming healthcare, especially in the current pandemic.
Improved Access To Healthcare
An obvious way that telehealth has transformed healthcare is that it has helped improves access to healthcare among patients who otherwise would not have access to healthcare. These include people suffering from chronic illnesses such as heart disease and hypertension who are afraid of visiting hospitals for fear of contracting COVID-19.
Softening Nursing Shortages
There is an ongoing nursing shortage that is unlikely to be resolved in the next few years. Nurses have experienced burnout in the era of COVID-19 due to this shortage and the increase in the number of patients who require care. Telehealth has allowed physicians and nurses to provide care to patients who do not need to go to the hospital and who would otherwise stretch the existing human and physical resources.
Because of these telehealth services, nurses in hospitals can be left to cater to a smaller number of patients, those who need urgent and critical care, and physicians and other nurses in different locations can cater to other patients resulting in the nursing shortage not being felt in hospitals as much as it otherwise would be.
Telehealth has made it easy for patients to consult their physicians anywhere they may be. They can make an appointment and hop on a video or secure chat with their preferred physicians, at the locations and times that work best for them. Physicians who cannot come to the hospital have also been able to offer their telehealth services wherever they may be in the world, which ensures none of their patients are left without the care they need.
Increases Use of Data
The use of data in medicine has been growing over the past two decades or so and this has exploded during the pandemic. A lot more people are now using apps and devices that collect and send their health information to their physicians. Physicians can then use this data to see their patient’s progress as well as catch illnesses and other health issues before they become a crisis.
Additionally, the amount of data collected during the pandemic is helping physicians and other healthcare professionals map out areas where there is a high disease prevalence so they can put in place measures to contain the virus and keep everyone safe.
There is no donut that the increased use of telehealth services has increased during the pandemic. It has allowed patients to get the healthcare they need without visiting hospitals, which has kept both doctors and patients safe. It has also transformed medical care in other ways as outlined above.