The novel coronavirus has affected us in ways we could not have imagined. Social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantine are terms that have created a new normal for us. Amidst all these drastic changes coming about, we see a trend of telemedicine. Even though telemedicine existed before the global pandemic, a majority of the population now relies on it for medical solutions. The dependence on telemedicine has now taken over so much that the government even changed telemedicine laws to make it a more favorable option over in-person hospital visits. Moreover, a growing trend in innovations within the telehealth and telemedicine sectors can be seen during the COVID-19 time period. Doctors and specialists across the globe are now a call away from treating people because of an unprecedented surge in the demand for telemedicine.
Change in telemedicine laws
President Donald Trump permitted Medicare to cover the costs of telehealth, making it possible for the elderly population to remain confined. Furthermore, laws have been introduced that authorize insurance companies to cover telemedicine expenses. Previously, the cost of opting to consult a doctor using this platform was expensive as compared to an in-person visit. Even though the federal government has allowed states to choose the implementation of this law, many states have still not opted for this solution. Regardless, the population using telemedicine within the U.S. has seen a drastic increase of 50% within the month of March alone. Since people have no other option but to remain indoors and keep themselves protected from the virus, telemedicine is their only option.
Solution to anxiety
Staying shut indoors can lead to severe distress. Similarly, the pandemic has locked people inside their houses and has caused a state of panic at the same time. While people are clueless about the current situation and unaware of how to proceed in life, they are also facing mental health problems. Telemedicine plays its role as a savior in such situations where psychiatrists and counselors are available online to help people feel better. The best part is that people can now order the medicines prescribed to them online through telemedicine platforms. Telehealth does not target one concept alone but has started to expand to help all those in need of some form of help.
Over time, growth and innovation can be achieved in any sector. Nonetheless, during COVID-19, the actual technological growth within telemedicine surpassed the expected rates. While we may think that telemedicine cannot help those who face critical illnesses, technology has left us in awe. New telemedicine softwares have come up providing solutions to more than just basic health problems. Telehealth can treat not only COVID-19 patients quarantined at home but also those with heart, kidneys, and other diseases. Technology has bestowed us with these facilities so specialists from across the country and around the world can provide their best opinion to a patient. Many inventors are coming up with telemedicine solutions to treat certain illnesses using this platform, providing relief to the sick.
Consulting a doctor on a regular call also comes under the label of telemedicine. However, top-notch ideas have been implemented in this field to initiate not only simple video calls but features that allow doctors to examine and check their patients thoroughly. In case people need to get certain tests done, appointments can be made beforehand, and patients may only go to get their tests done.
The future of telemedicine
A very important question that lingers is whether or not the preference for telehealth solutions will last once COVID-19 is over. Most physicians and doctors consider telemedicine to be a blessing in disguise and are willing to continue down this path, even after the coronavirus ends. It is a secure, easy, and viable option that allows doctors to keep track of their patients and their health. Telemedicine, as mentioned before, does not only cover the idea of calling a doctor and asking his opinion regarding your health. Websites and applications have come into play so people can book appointments for their tests and physicians. The best part of using a telemedicine platform to schedule a test or consultation is that you can even gain special discounts throughout the length of the pandemic.
The CDC and WHO are both advocating for telemedicine and are highlighting the benefits that people can get if they start to rely on it more heavily. However, the population is using telemedicine to ensure its safety during the pandemic and not due to its actual benefits. Due to this, after April, there has been a slight decrease in the number of patients opting for telehealth, but the numbers are expected to increase till the end of 2020.