COVID-19 Will Make Telemedicine a New Normal

The COVID 19 pandemic has changed the world forever. As America enters into its third month of stay at home orders we have learned many things and adapted to physical distancing. Americans have learned to work, teach, meet, get services, and shop for everything from home. For those Americans needing non-serious medical attention, they very well have received a basic form of telemedicine through video conferencing. 

The reality of this pandemic is that a return to life before COVID 19, without a vaccine, is nowhere in sight. The lessons learned during the stay at home period will make Americans, businesses, and professionals rethink how to live, work, socialize, be entertained. and conduct business even after a vaccine is produced and distributed; which is projected to be well over a year away. Telemedicine will continue and expand for the more basic services to patients in the near term, and likely to remain with expanding practice and service in the medium and far-term now that the remote medicine ice is being smashed. We are living a different way of life that will certainly have some residual practices. 

Telemedicine has long been talked about as the future of medicine with the benefits of lowering medical costs, providing constant monitoring, quicker diagnosis and treatment, as well as limiting patient exposure to ill patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adaptation of telemedicine by leap years. It is forcing the use of remote medical services to a large number of people to keep both medical professionals and patients safe and healthy. 

 Global and local organizations are advocating the use of telemedicine as part of their response to COVID-19. The CDC and WHO are promoting telemedicine to monitor patients and reduce the risk of them spreading the virus. The Academy of Family Physicians and the American Medical Association (AMA) released related guidelines. The US Government has taken significant steps toward expanding telemedicine services. 

Furthermore, telehealth is helping organizations respond to a limited supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), increased patient flow, increased demands for testing, and the concerned healthy, according to a recent Insights by Xtelligent Healthcare Media survey.

The Health and Human Services Department is dispensing $15 million in funding, allocated in the CARES Act, to over 150 healthcare providers across America to help them expand telehealth services to meet demands caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The money is earmarked to “train students, physicians, nurses, physician assistants, allied health and other high-demand professionals in telehealth” and expand connected health platforms to replace or complement in-person care.

These developments and patient exposure to telemedicine will make a lasting impression on all generations of healthcare providers and patients. The younger generations are always looking for more efficient means, the older generation that may be less mobile and more susceptible the catching illnesses, and generations in between that often blame busy schedules for not scheduling regular doctor visits. Being forced to use telemedicine during this pandemic make millions of patients familiar, and possibly comfortable, with the practice and expose the personal benefits to individuals. 

For telemedicine to truly replace in-person service for the long term it is essential that several elements evolve with the demand of remote healthcare and digital health. Secure and reliable networks, video conferencing, and wireless devices, as well as cybersecurity and HIPPA compliant software, must be available in the patient’s home or remote location.

The race to provide wireless medical devices that meet the industry regulations has accelerated given the exponent increase of telemedicine usage. Companies like Devicelab have built a telemedicine platform and are ready to meet the expanding demand for remote healthcare. Devicelab has invested years in developing an effective, reliable, and flexible digital health platform in anticipation of the telemedicine revolution. Devicelab can help medical device providers deliver telemedicine enabled product to market sooner rather than later.

As the world begins to re-open, COVID-19 will linger for some time and have a lasting effect on how medical services, diagnosis, and treatments are delivered, long after it is gone. Telemedicine is here to stay. Devicelab will enable medical devices to support this new normal for medical services.