In the hopes of lessening the risk of COVID-19 infection, healthcare industries around the world are adopting telehealth technology to replace face-to-face consultations with health seekers. So far, virtual care is proving to be a necessity in today's contactless environment and is likely to be the trend in future primary care.
Before the pandemic, visits to the doctor entailed filling out forms, getting tests done, and waiting patiently in line before your name was called. Fast forward to today, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an obvious change in healthcare. With health seekers still wary about heading to hospitals to get a consultation and care from their primary providers, telemedicine technology is being adopted by healthcare industries around the world for cost-effective, convenient, and risk-free access to care.
The adoption of telehealth technology has certainly been an effective and convenient means of providing care during the pandemic. It will likely continue to be utilized even after the situation returns to normal. Moreover, the adoption of telehealth has helped in addressing some of the challenges faced by HCIs today.
1. Scarce resources
Admittedly, the Philippines does not have an equal allocation of resources in healthcare. There is a huge and obvious unequal distribution of critical care devices, drugs, and even healthcare personnel across the country, especially in public hospitals. The use of telehealth minimizes the need for an in-person visit to a doctor’s clinic for minor concerns and, instead, pushes health seekers to get consultation via the phone. In a way, resources are saved and allocated towards patients that warrant more attention and care.
2. Inequitable access to health information and care
Not everyone has access to information and care that they need, and with the pandemic, consumers are pushed to adopt traditional healthcare rather than get help from medical professionals. With telehealth technology, information about one’s condition is now just an application, call, or text away.
Due to the pandemic, healthcare providers are realizing that patient care can be done virtually, whether through a video conference or a voice call. Telehealth greatly reduces the need for face-to-face consultation, especially in today’s contactless environment.
“Major efforts are really towards the direction of telehealth to minimize physical contact,” shared Dr. Saturnino Javier, Director of Makati Medical Center, in a virtual forum organized by BusinessWorld and Philippine Star.
“Even during the height of the pandemic we have encouraged many of our practitioners to embrace teleconsultation or telemedicine to be able to connect with the patients who have no opportunity to visit them in the hospital,” added Dr. Javier.
In fact, a few hospitals in Manila have already explored the use of telehealth in place of physical consultations. These include a few prominent hospitals such as the Medical City, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Providence Hospital, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center.
According to a recent survey, 91% of the respondents are more likely to set an appointment virtually with a healthcare provider than schedule an in-person appointment. It is validated by reports that predict virtual care is likely to soar to more than a billion for 2021 alone.
Virtual care is quite easy to adopt not only because it greatly minimizes the risk of acquiring COVID, but because the technology needed for it is simple. Consumers need only a smartphone, a desktop computer, or a laptop. In some cases, a regular mobile phone will do as patients can get a consultation with their doctor via call or text.
Other than the ease of use, telemedicine offers more flexibility for healthcare providers and consumers. Patients who live in far-flung areas or don’t have the means to travel to a hospital far from their area can simply utilize virtual care. Healthcare practitioners can also adjust their schedules for after-hour calls or weekend consultations.
The pandemic accelerated the use of telehealth from three to five years in just three months. Moreover, the pandemic has proved that the implementation of telemedicine can be done in just a short period of time with the technology already used today. Telemedicine technology has for certain improved and enhanced the delivery of healthcare by making it easily accessible to all.
Virtual care is pushing more consumers to get health information, schedule an appointment, or receive diagnosis and treatment online. Overtime, remote monitoring technology will also be used for active and passive consumers in the healthcare industry. In conclusion, customers just want timely and safe access to health information, which virtual care technology can provide.
With the rollout of 5G networks as well, the adoption of telehealth will further be accelerated. Make sure you’re prepared for this move by acquiring digital solutions made for telehealth and remote care from Globe myBusiness.
Learn more on how you can apply telehealth to your medical practice by talking to a Globe myBusiness representative. Sign up now!
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