The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in this country has cost thousands of lives and changed the way we go about our daily lives. Our amazing healthcare professionals are putting themselves on the line every day for others as well as pivoting from their normal work to assist during these uncertain times. We thank them for their continued dedication to patient care every day.
As the pandemic threatens to overwhelm the US healthcare system and supply chains, telehealth becomes even more important. Utilizing telemedicine systems, healthcare professionals can help triage more emergent cases and help prevent hospitals from being overrun. In addition, telehealth can be used to prevent exposure for non-emergent visits while still facilitating high-quality care.
Advantages of Telehealth/Telemedicine
Today, more and more clinicians and their patients are turning to alternatives to in-person appointments. Advancements in technology make telemedicine and telehealth truly viable and smart options, especially in the time of COVID-19.
Convenience for Connecting
The convenience of telehealth is exponential. As more and more people are working from home, we have all begun to appreciate the value of a video call. Think of the advantages this technology means for the healthcare industry. Speech therapists can help students by video conferencing while they're out of school. Occupational therapists can work virtually with clients. Home health specialists can monitor their patients remotely. Yes, face-to-face visits are important, and in some instances necessary, but some care can be done in real time via video conferencing.
Cost Savings to Patients and Providers
There are clear advantages for using telehealth in patient care. Under normal circumstances, it can reduce healthcare costs for patient and providers by minimizing in-person visits. Being able to skip traveling to the office for a follow up can save time and money on both sides. Telemedicine services can also redirect uncomplicated healthcare concerns away from more costly care like the emergency room.
Telehealth increases access to care for rural or remote areas. Very few small towns have access to specialists. This can include two clinicians discussing a case over video conference, test results being forwarded between facilities for interpretation by a specialist or a patient discussing their concerns with a physician directly. Utilizing telemedicine technology grants access to patients that would normally have to travel great distances to receive care.
Today, telehealth is even more accessible with the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact (eNLC). The eNLC allows registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical/vocational nurses (LPN/LVNs) to have one multistate license, giving them mobility across state borders both physically and for telehealth. Currently there are 29 states in the eNLC. The eNLC expands borders and makes it much easier for nurses from other states to provide care, especially when additional aid is needed in a state of emergency, such as COVID-19.
If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to COVID-19 go to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and review whether or not you need testing. There is a coronavirus self-checker button at the top of the page that will guide you through making decisions and seeking appropriate medical care.
To learn more about what Supplemental Health Care is doing for their clinicians, please visit our COVID-19 FAQs page.