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The new coronavirus (COVID-19), recently declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO), is hitting closer to home. The virus has infected tens of thousands and continues to spread globally, prompting the healthcare providers—many who are already stretched thin during the busy flu season—to question how they will accommodate a potential spike in visit volume while protecting their patients and themselves.
Telemedicine is proving to be an increasingly valuable tool in the medical arsenal, helping to reduce the spread of infection by providing first-line defense. Televisits can help doctors combat the coronavirus outbreak, even reaching patients in remote locations with limited care access. This remote diagnosis and treatment of patients offer physicians and other caregivers the opportunity to readily communicate and share information electronically via — among other things — virtual video visits, text messaging and monitoring services.
Here’s a closer look at how it promotes early detection, limits exposure, and helps providers treat more patients.
Televisits provide a safe, efficient way for patients to connect with their own doctors from the comfort of their homes.
The remote visits are proving increasingly valuable for reducing the spread of infectious diseases, such as flu and coronavirus because they enable early diagnosis and help to prevent exposure to the virus by keeping sick people away from others.
Patients, including those with limited access to care, are often more likely to seek care at the first signs of illness when care is convenient. Before the coronavirus outbreak, patients often quickly brushed off common symptoms, including cough, fever and body aches, as signs of a common cold. Because the new coronavirus shares many of the same symptoms as a cold and flu, the symptoms cause new concern. Meeting with their doctor for assurance via a video chat or audio call is quick and easy. It saves patients from taking time off from work or school, traveling to an office visit, or resorting to urgent care facilities and hospital emergency rooms, and also avoids the spread of disease from people who have minimal symptoms but can be infectious.
Since there is currently no vaccine for coronavirus, avoiding exposure is the best way to prevent infection. Telemedicine reduces the spread of infection by keeping patients away from others. Sick people stay home rather than exposing others, including their doctors and anyone they encounter en route to a doctor’s appointment or in a healthcare facility.
While healthcare providers take precautions to minimize exposure in medical facilities, for instance using facemasks and other protective equipment, and following handwashing and hygiene recommendations, avoiding the transfer of germs entirely is unavoidable. Healthcare providers put themselves at risk of contracting viruses when they are in close contact with patients. Being able to connect and diagnose remotely helps to keep them free from germs, and ultimately able to help more patients.
By relying on televisits—which typically last about 10 minutes and can often be conducted before or after traditional office hours, as reimbursable visits—providers can better control their schedule and meet the needs of more patients. They can leverage remote visits to screen patients for illnesses that require additional attention (including coronavirus), refer serious cases for additional care, call in prescription medications, and provide follow-up for those already under their care. In-office visits can be reserved for patients with more complicated needs.
While there has been a lot of concern among employees regarding the recent outbreak of coronavirus, a lot of fake news and unverified facts are being circulated to worsen the situation further. This is affecting business productivity too.
At the moment, creating awareness is the best way to fight the situation. Hence, ekincare is conducting webinars every week and providing free doctor consultations to employees pan India to spread awareness and take the necessary precautions.
Register your company and provide your employees with an option to chat with an MBBS doctor and get the right advice.