The healthcare industry is experiencing an immense paradigm shift as the world battles against the global health crisis.
Such turn of tides pressed health institutions and other concerned parties to rethink how they will carry out their duties, both to achieve more efficient outcomes and to curtail the spread of the unseen virus. In Asia alone, governments are implementing measures differing from one another, which results in contrasting ramifications, both successful and unsuccessful.
The Philippines’ Department of Health recently issued the Administrative Order 2020-037 or the Guidelines on Implementation of Local Health Systems Maturity Levels. The order aims to provide local health units with a health information management system that can support the needs of all health care providers in the Philippines during and even post-pandemic. Among the maturity indicators is an EMR system integrated with a telemedicine service.
An account wherein a person snip-snaps on the idea of consulting to a medical professional during this dire time in the health sector is not an untold tale. The pandemic sparked fear of going outside the house, more so, of going to health facilities possibly packed with infectious pathogens.
Virtual visits through telemedicine should now be an option, especially for patients with chronic diseases and those living with immuno-compromised individuals, babies, or senior citizens. Moreover, telemedicine also helps with real-time tracking and monitoring of possible asymptomatic virus carriers.
According to healthcareitnews.com, nearly 80% of cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and respiratory physicians said that their use of virtual care technology had increased during the pandemic. More than half of which are not using telemedicine before the crisis. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of them said they would continue to use virtual care technology in the future.
The above data clearly shows how COVID heightened the demand for telemedicine services and will continue to support healthcare providers beyond the pandemic. It delivered on its promise of reducing person-to-person transmission, relieving the burden of the overworked care providers, and providing easier access to quality healthcare for patients who cannot meet their respective physicians.
Different countries around the globe have seen how telemedicine can help in reducing the threat/effects of COVID. Indonesia, for example, declared a shortage of protective gears and medical practitioners, with only three (3) doctors for every 10,000 Indonesians, and limited healthcare facilities. The government of Indonesia then directed its citizens to telehealth firms who can offer verified medical guidance, provide consultations via telephone or text, and prescribe medications and have them delivered to the patients who need them.
Vietnam, one of the few Asian countries to manage the COVID threat, also launched its first official telemedicine application as part of its valuable tools/gears in fighting the pandemic.
These case studies show how technology, particularly telemedicine, serves an important role in the global health battle. It is no longer just a band-aid solution but an inevitable future, that although in-person visits have their fair share of benefits, embedding telemedicine as an integral part of healthcare is a must-have level up – an upgrade that all care providers must consider.