Healthcare organizations and telehealth
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is a wide field that utilizes the help of communication technology such as laptops and smartphones to provide health-care services to patients in the safety of their own homes. It has become an extremely relevant and exceptional tool during the current pandemic and has helped health-care professionals overcome the challenges posed by this pandemic. Telehealth aims to not only provide access to optimal health-care services in remote or rural areas but also succeeds in improving communication between the patients and their health providers.
Telehealth in the US
The US is currently reporting the highest number of cases of COVID-19 in the world with 2,010,442 total reported cases, 112,549 deaths, and 761,736 recoveries. The rise in the number of affected people has caused the federal government and health insurance services to look to telehealth services for a solution. Telehealth has proven to be essential during this time of crisis in providing inexpensive and easily accessible healthcare services especially to those who live in remote or rural areas. New policies, like the 1135 emergency waiver, attempt to increase the access to telehealth in areas previously lacking such services and also allow for some medication to be prescribed through telehealth. Another new policy enables doctors to provide their telehealth services in states they are otherwise not able to practice in. Suspension of some HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) rules have also allowed health-care providers to extend their services through their personal phones which helps them stay connected with patients and decreases the spread of transmissible diseases such as COVID-19.
Advantages of telehealth
Telehealth plays an essential role in curbing the spread of communicable diseases as well as providing the highest quality of health-care and is beneficial for both patients and health-care providers. It helps the physicians have up-to-date information about their patients, maintain a good patient-doctor relationship, and offer their services regardless of the location of the patient.
Patients, on the other hand, can obtain access to the best doctors, affordable health-care, and quality medical services through telehealth. The many telehealth services can be utilized in various ways to enhance the exchange of information between physicians and their patients. It can be used to store and relay information such as lab reports, images, or video clips with health-care providers at a different location. The use of real-time videoconferencing also allows for immediate interaction between patient and physician to answer queries, form diagnoses, and offer consultations. Telehealth is an essential tool and not only offers a safer alternative for patients but also protects the health-care providers who are at the front lines of this pandemic.