COVID-19 Exposes the Need for Innovative Ways to Access Healthcare
As the global healthcare industry continues to fight against the coronavirus, patients everywhere are struggling to access healthcare in a traditional manner. This limited access is moving the industry to find innovative solutions to the problem, including many calls for the industry to remove limitations on telehealth.
The Center for Connected Health Policy describes telehealth as “a collection of means or methods for enhancing healthcare, public health and health education delivery and support using telecommunications technologies.”¹ As in-person interaction is proving to be dangerous, even life-threatening, telehealth is not only an enhancement for healthcare but a necessary component of it. President of the American Medical Association Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA is directing the AMA to support telehealth efforts. “The AMA stands ready to help physicians expand their use of telemedicine and continues to invest in resources that provide physicians with a proven path for integrating telemedicine and digital health technologies into patient care.”² The AMA has noted the importance of telehealth for not only maintaining COVID-19, but also continuing other types of care.
While the pandemic is shining a light on the benefits of telehealth, some healthcare systems have implemented it into their practices for years. The ones that have telehealth systems in place are better equipped to handle situations like those presented by this pandemic. Philadelphia’s Jefferson Health is one of those healthcare systems. The infectious nature of the coronavirus makes it dangerous for doctors to see patients in person. The doctors within the system are able to provide care using their telehealth system, JeffConnect. Judd Hollander, MD, a vice president for Jefferson, said this about telehealth and the COVID-19 pandemic: “We now have a sense of urgency to do it, and I pray that we’re overreacting in getting all these things ready and we don’t need it, but on the other hand, hope is not a very good strategy.”
Telehealth is not only vital to combat this pandemic, it’s one of the only ways for care to continue for patients dealing with other health problems. One category of telehealth includes remote patient monitoring. Wearable technologies allow doctors to better understand the conditions of their patients.
TracPatch is a wearable technology for total knee surgery patients. It allows for remote patient monitoring, giving doctors valuable insights into their patients’ post-operative recovery process. TracPatch provides both patients and doctors with dashboards displaying data on activity levels, range of motion, skin temperature, and more. This data enables patients to better understand the steps necessary to comply with their doctor’s recommendations for recovery.
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- About Telehealth. Retrieved April 22, 2020, from https://www.cchpca.org/about/about-telehealth
- People need to stop dragging their feet’: Using telehealth during COVID-19 pandemic”. (2020, March 25). Retrieved April 22, 2020 from https://www.healio.com/primary-care/practice-management/news/online/%7B9d5869af-69f5-47ed-8870-00e806a9132f%7D/people-need-to-stop-dragging-their-feet-using-telehealth-during-covid-19-pandemic