In just a few short weeks, COVID-19 has spread across the globe, infecting hundreds of thousands of people. At the time of this writing, the coronavirus has spread across more than 100 countries on every continent except Antarctica. It has been spreading at such a rapid pace that authorities are using all of their resources in an attempt to combat it.
You have probably heard the words “telehealth” and “telemedicine,” but do you know what they mean? Today, we’re going to try and answer the question, “How does telemedicine work?” The benefits of telemedicine can help conquer the current pandemic.
In fact, on March 17th, 2020, the Trump administration announced they are lifting telehealth restrictions for seniors in hopes of limiting the spread of COVID-19. As more and more patients come down with the disease, telemedicine will allow doctors to perform remote screenings and treatments. In turn, this will reduce virus transmission among health care workers.
How Does Telemedicine Work and What is It?
The first question on everyone’s mind is “what is telehealth?” In short, it is the use of Internet communication technologies in the treatment of patients. It allows doctors to check up on their patients, monitor them, and give them consultations.
In the past, before the internet, social media, and technology, communicating with a doctor any way other than in person was almost unimaginable! With amazing technological advances, things have changed drastically in the past few years. Recent studies show people are much more comfortable with telehealth now and more comfortable using it.
Research from the American Hospital Association shows more than 70% of people in the United States are now comfortable communicating with their doctor through video and email. Moreover, three-quarters of people prioritize healthcare over the need to talk with their doctor face-to-face.
Telehealth can help you with treating both minor and serious conditions from the comfort of your own home. Before you ask, yes, even coronavirus treatment can be provided through telemedicine! Doctors in countries such as China have successfully treated their patients with this technology.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth?
Virus testing, treatment, and prevention can all be made easier with the use of telehealth. Let’s see some of the bigger benefits telehealth can provide to its users.
1. Patient Screening
Numerous telehealth platforms can be used to screen patients. A doctor can use messaging, online chat functions, and video calls to conduct tests and screenings. This allows people to stay quarantined and prevents them from spreading the virus.
In San Francisco, doctors have already screened tens of thousands of patients using this method. According to UCSF, their tool has helped local doctors screen more than 50,000 people. In turn, this helped doctors identify cases early, prevent spread, and save lives.
2. Remote Treatments
A telehealth doctor can treat and monitor patients who are too old or too weak to go to the hospital. For example, a doctor can check the patient’s blood pressure, temperature, and other vital signs without seeing them in person, allowing them more rest.
In Israel, doctors used devices to treat patients even before the outbreak started. Datos, a company that provides monitoring tools, has been working with the Israeli government to enable public hospitals to monitor and treat their patients remotely.
3. Coronavirus Testing
Telehealth can even help people get tested for the coronavirus. How is coronavirus tested? A doctor takes a sample out of the patient’s nasal passage, places it into a liquid-filled tube for transport, and sends it off to a lab for testing.
This, of course, requires you to go to the coronavirus testing center to provide the sample. Telehealth eliminates all of that and allows patients to stay quarantined. By giving patients or their family members instructions on how to get tested at home, telehealth makes the process much safer.
How Can Telehealth Help During the Crisis?
Being tested without having to leave your apartment is extremely helpful, but that is not the only benefit telehealth can provide during this time. Many countries around the globe are making great use of the many other benefits of telehealth.
There’s no better example than China. China has been combating the COVID-19 outbreak since December 2019. China’s officials have used multiple telehealth services, like WeDoctor and Ali Health, to spread awareness about the virus and educate its citizens on prevention methods.
The ability to spread information quickly and effectively is the biggest benefit of telehealth. The reality is that searching, “What are the symptoms of the coronavirus?” can lead to a wealth of misinformation. Doctors can provide all of the information their patients need through telehealth apps.
Even though the White House only recently lifted restrictions on how telemedicine can work, American companies such as AmWell and Teledoc have been ready to provide services. AmWell notes that in the last few weeks, their video visit service use has increased by eleven percent.
ARcare is offering telehealth services to ensure quality patient care and keep people healthy during COVID-19. We are doing our best to take care of the community we serve and are implementing protective protocols based on the recommendations of the CDC.
1. Patient Care
- To schedule a virtual appointment, you can call our Telemedicine/Coordinated Care number at (870) 347-3461, or call your local clinic to schedule your appointment.
- We are able to complete medication refills, referrals, lab results, acute care, and other services.
- Our telehealth services can be accessed through a phone, tablet or laptop.
2. Self-Screening for COVID-19
ARcare also has a self-screening for COVID-19. For more information or to schedule a telehealth appointment, you can also call your local clinic and they will route you through to your virtual care provider.
5 Steps to ARcare’s Telemedicine Program
- Login to virtualcarenow.arcare.net/users/sign_up/consumer to register and enter code “Telemed.”
- Complete your online profile by providing your personal information and your insurance information.
- Once complete, select “Meet with Provider Now.” You will be placed in a virtual waiting room until a telehealth provider is available to assist you.
- Once the provider connects, you can select “Start Session” and speak to the provider through your smartphone, laptop, or iPad about your medical situation.
- The provider will then give you further instructions for the next steps.
It is our top priority to maintain the highest level of care for our patients and keep you safe while we keep our focus where it belongs: Our Valued Patients.
Final Thoughts on Telehealth
COVID-19 has spread across America and the rest of the world a lot more quickly than most of us were anticipating when the outbreak was still limited to a few countries. It will continue to spread if we do not implement appropriate social distancing procedures.
We need to use every tool in our toolbox if we want to beat the virus and prevent it from infecting more victims. Telehealth can be a great tool for testing, screening, and even treating patients. Use the telehealth platforms you can access to protect your life and the lives of those around you.
We hope you enjoyed our article and found it helpful. How much do you know about telehealth? Have you ever used a telemedicine doctor? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.