As the coronavirus continues to spread and disrupt people’s lives – and with testing kits not yet widely available – people might be wary of taking either themselves or loved ones to the doctor’s office for fear of catching or transmitting COVID-19.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) people over the age of 60 are potentially at a higher risk of getting a severe case of the coronavirus. And with the AARP previously reporting that 87% of adults age 65 and older want to stay in their home as they age, there is significant potential for the rise of telehealth.
Telehealth is the use of technology – like smartphones, computers, and remote patient monitoring tools – to enable remote communication and consultation between doctors and patients. It leverages digital tech to gather a continuous stream of patient health data, so health professionals can give more efficient and accurate prescriptions and recommendations for better patient outcomes.
And with an increasing number of businesses and companies moving to in-home work amid the coronavirus, conferencing with coworkers through video chat platforms like Zoom, virtual health consultations may gain traction.
Here’s how it works:
Doctors connect with patients online, asking questions to assess symptoms and check for any signs of contagious illness.
Patients with more serious conditions can schedule an in-office follow-up visit or be referred to specialists. If coronavirus is suspected, using CDC guidelines and travel history, doctors can schedule patients for proper testing, quarantine those suspected of exposure, and notify local or state health departments, quickly and easily. While telemedicine helps saves patients time and helps them find answers, it also avoids the spread of disease.