It is hard to overstate the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live. People are going out less and businesses are finding new ways to operate while reducing the risk for customers and staff.
Few areas of life have been impacted in ways that can compare to healthcare. Before the current healthcare emergency, you didn’t think much about how you received care. You just booked an appointment and went to get care when you needed it.
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With COVID-19 still spreading, people are starting to think twice about receiving healthcare as usual. They are worried about the risks of going to a doctor’s office or hospital and this has led some to look for other solutions.
Healthcare providers are now looking to technology to help them meet the needs of patients while protecting them for the potential for infection. For some, this might mean they need to adapt existing technologies. For others, they may need to work with app development companies like Blue Label Labs to create custom healthcare solutions that can work from a smartphone or tablet.
Bringing Healthcare to the Patient
Healthcare businesses are starting to use telehealth as a solution to the current crisis. With telehealth, patients can consult with doctors or receive a variety of healthcare services on a phone or PC.
This idea isn’t new. Telehealth services have been around for a while, but the current circumstances have pushed many providers and patients to adopt the use of this technology.
In the past, telehealth was mostly used by people who lived in areas that are underserved by the healthcare system. Now that in-person doctor’s visits have the potential to spread COVID-19, these technologies are being used by patients and professionals who would have had little reason to consider them in the past.
One way this can help is by allowing patients to make their initial contact with the doctor from an app. In this virtual appointment, the doctor could ask a range of questions and even perform a light examination through the use of video. This will allow the doctor to screen patients to determine which ones really need to come for in-person care and which ones do not.
In many cases, patients will be able to receive all of the care they need straight from the app. The doctor can perform the examination and provide a diagnosis remotely. If there is a need, they could write a prescription or refer them to a specialist without the need for an in-person doctor’s visit.
Virtual Support Groups and Counseling
With more people working from home, video conferencing apps have been receiving a lot of attention lately. While the benefits for working from home or keeping in touch with family are obvious, video conference software can also be beneficial for things like counseling and support groups.
When stay-at-home orders first started to go into effect, many people who rely on things like regular counseling and support groups found that they were suddenly cut off from these important services. To address this concern, many of the service providers started offering appointments or group meetings using video conferencing software.
It might not be quite the same as going to a meeting in person, but it can still provide these individuals with the support and advice they need. Even outside of the context of a pandemic, this solution could help to open these services up for people who may not have had access.
While telehealth can be a good alternative for some situations, it can’t replace in-person care entirely. Some healthcare services require the in-person attention of a professional. With that said, it is turning out to be a vital tool for providing care and it is likely to become more common after the pandemic.