Telehealth Remains Strong Even After The Covid-19 Pandemic

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Telehealth Remains Strong Even After The Covid-19 Pandemic

Telehealth has proven its value and effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such is the case because it significantly revolutionised our healthcare landscape. As we envision a world that is totally free from Covid, it is clear that telehealth will not only survive. In fact, it is seen to further thrive as an important component of healthcare delivery. 


Role of Telehealth at the height of Covid-19 pandemic


During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth played a crucial role in ensuring the continuity of healthcare services while minimising the risk of viral transmission. Here are some key contributions of telehealth during this time:


Remote Consultations


Telehealth allowed healthcare providers to conduct virtual consultations with patients. This enabled them to assess symptoms, provide medical advice, and prescribe medications remotely. Because of this, there was a significantly reduced need for in-person visits and minimised the risk of exposure to the virus for both patients and frontliners.


Triage and Screening


Telehealth played a vital role in triaging patients by providing initial assessments and determining the urgency of care. Through virtual screening, healthcare professionals could identify individuals who required immediate attention. Furthermore, they can guide them to appropriate channels, such as emergency departments or testing centers.


Monitoring and Follow-up Care


Telehealth facilitated the monitoring of patients with chronic conditions or recovering from acute illnesses. Remote patient monitoring devices allowed healthcare providers to:

–       track vital signs, 

–       medication adherence, and 

–       symptom progression. 


Virtual follow-up visits helped ensure continuity of care and reduced the need for unnecessary in-person visits.


Mental Health Support


The pandemic significantly impacted mental health, without a doubt. Because of this, telehealth emerged as a lifeline for individuals in need of mental health support. Virtual therapy sessions and counseling services allowed access to mental health professionals from the safety of their homes. Evidently, this addressed issues such as anxiety, depression, and stress related to the pandemic.


Healthcare Access for Underserved Areas


Telehealth bridged the gap in healthcare access for individuals in remote or underserved areas. It provided them with the opportunity to consult with healthcare specialists without the need for extensive travel or logistical challenges. This improved healthcare delivery and reduced perceived discrimination relating to healthcare provision.


Education and Training


Telehealth also played a role in educating healthcare professionals and students during the pandemic. Virtual training sessions, webinars, and online resources helped disseminate knowledge and share best practices. Through telehealth, healthcare providers were equipped with the necessary skills to deliver remote care effectively.


Outbreak Management


It contributed to outbreak management by facilitating remote coordination among healthcare professionals, public health authorities, and patients. It helped disseminate critical information for guidance on preventive measures and support contact tracing efforts.


Leading countries that support Telehealth


Several countries have embraced the concept of telehealth and made significant advancements in its implementation. Here are some leading countries in telehealth adoption:


  1.   United States: The United States has been at the forefront of telehealth adoption. The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the adoption of telehealth services. This led to regulatory changes and increased reimbursement for virtual care.


  1.   Canada: Canada has made significant progress in telehealth adoption, particularly in remote and rural areas. The country has implemented various telehealth initiatives to improve healthcare access and delivery. Of course, this included virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and telepsychiatry services.


  1.   United Kingdom: The United Kingdom has been actively integrating telehealth into its healthcare system. The National Health Service (NHS) has implemented telehealth programs to provide remote consultations, home monitoring, and telemedicine services. This is aimed to improve access to care and reduce hospital admissions.


  1.   Australia: Australia has made significant investments in telehealth infrastructure and services. The government has implemented initiatives to support telehealth adoption. Telehealth has been embraced in various healthcare sectors. This includes primary care, mental health, and specialist consultations.


  1.   Netherlands: The country has integrated telehealth into its healthcare system to improve access, reduce healthcare costs, and enhance patient outcomes.


  1.   Norway: Implementation of telehealth services covered video consultations and remote patient monitoring. The country has further invested in telemedicine applications which have been widely implemented to ensure efficient care delivery.


  1.   South Korea: The country has a robust IT infrastructure and has leveraged technology to provide teleconsultations and advanced remote monitoring. Their telemedicine services, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic have been one of the most recognised in the world.


  1.   Sweden: Sweden has been proactive in adopting telehealth solutions to enhance healthcare delivery. Telehealth initiatives, such as virtual consultations, remote patient monitoring, and digital health platforms, have been widely implemented. 


Telehealth and its rise in popularity even after Covid


Patients have adjusted to virtual care significantly


Patient demand and acceptance of telehealth services have significantly increased. The pandemic forced individuals to adopt a virtual setup for consultations. There may be some resistance at first but this has since been replaced with a warm welcome. This is because telehealth exposes everyone to the convenience, accessibility, and flexibility it offers. 


Telehealth offers unbridled convenience preferred by many


Those who need medical care and assistance become accustomed to the benefits of virtual consultation check-ups and remote monitoring. All these were possible through the help of digital health tools and other breakthroughs in medical machinery and tools. This shift in patient preferences and expectations should continue to drive the demand for telehealth services even after Covid.


Even healthcare workers have incorporated Telehealth into their day-to-day operations


At the same time, healthcare providers have recognised and even embraced the value of telehealth. The pandemic accelerated the adoption of telehealth technologies and workflows. Because of this, it allowed providers to deliver remote care. They were also able to manage patient volumes and optimise resource allocation. 


Healthcare organisations continue to invest in Telehealth advancements


Through this observable trend, various healthcare organisations all over the world have invested in telehealth infrastructure. They trained their staff in telemedicine practices and integrated telehealth into their care models. With this said, investments in telehealth advancements are expected to prosper even after the pandemic. 


This goes without saying that providers continue to enhance their patient access, streamline care delivery, and improve overall efficiency with the help of technology in many years to come.


In relation to technological advancements, telehealth benefits from innovations such as: 

–       artificial intelligence, 

–       remote monitoring devices, 

–       wearable sensors, and 

–       telemedicine apps


These developments enhance the capabilities of telehealth platforms. Of course, this means more personalised and comprehensive care. Improved connectivity and increased internet access will further strengthen the foundation for reliable and seamless services.


Organisations expected to adopt Telehealth practices permanently into their operations


Furthermore, healthcare policies and regulations are evolving to support telehealth beyond the pandemic. Temporary changes made during COVID-19 to facilitate telehealth are now going through rigid reassessment by different medical organisations. Many of these bodies are highly considering these practices to remain permanent. Therefore, what was considered only applicable during the pandemic shall continue to be observed norm even after. 


This is the case because these policymakers truly recognise the value of telehealth through the improvement of healthcare access. Cost reduction and enhancement of patient outcomes are also to be expected. Continued collaboration among healthcare providers, insurers, and regulatory bodies shapes policies that promote the further sustainability of telehealth.


In conclusion


Telehealth has proven its value and effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic and will undoubtedly survive and thrive in a post-COVID world. As healthcare systems and patients embrace the benefits of virtual care, telehealth will become an integral part of the healthcare ecosystem. Because of this, it then inevitably continues to transform the way healthcare is delivered, accessed, and experienced by everyone.