By Amira Saleh
Sales Development Associate
Telemedicine is the administration of health care services remotely, such as a video consultation with your primary care doctor via Skype or a phone app. It has become a critical technological advantage during COVID-19 and is expanding healthcare services and treatment to Americans.
The Beneficial Timing of Telemedicine Use
To limit exposure and make resources available to those who are suffering from the virus, consumers were advised to avoid hospital emergency rooms as the first point of contact for medical attention and reschedule nonessential medical appointments.
Telehealth companies have stepped in as a natural solution offering consumers the ability to use at-home technology to access medical advice. At the same time, providers can reduce exposure and maximize time and resources. Many health care providers can now be reimbursed for using telemedicine and States, and the White House lifted regulations and restrictions to telehealth care. The American Academy of Family Physicians updated its guidance on using telehealth to include instruction on caring for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, including how to implement telemedicine in a practice quickly and how to get reimbursed for virtual visits.
A variety of third-party telehealth companies, such as AmWell and Teladoc, partner with health systems and health plans to offer video and phone visits, scheduling, and patient monitoring. With increased stress due to the pandemic, consumers are utilizing online counseling services, such as Talkspace, to access mental health support via text, audio, or video messaging.
How Telemedicine Helps Families Navigate Medical Emergencies
True Story: During quarantine, a colleague was at home with her family when her 2-year-old daughter, Carly, accidentally dislocated her elbow. Worried about going to the ER and risking coronavirus exposure or infection, Carly's parents called their telemed doctor. She was able to see Carly's injury and assess its severity. Then, she showed Carly's dad exactly how he could pop her arm back into place himself, the same way a medical professional would if they went to the hospital. She demonstrated the technique repeatedly until everyone felt comfortable, and she was also able to provide much-needed calm and moral support. Within 45 minutes of the injury, Carly's arm was good as new. Not only were her parents thrilled, the doctor said it was easily one of the best moments she'd had as a healthcare provider.
The Future of Telehealth
Consumers prioritize convenience. Likely to stick around post-pandemic, consumers and providers are increasing digital communication channels. "The past two months have accelerated telehealth by more than two years," said Ido Schoenberg, CEO of Amwell.
A survey of U.S. patients found that 84% are more likely to select a provider that offers telemedicine over one that doesn’t. With proper messaging, more Americans may be willing to try telehealth services and once exposed to the convenience, may consider using them more in the future.
- Mintel, Viral Video Consultation, March, 17, 2020 https://reports.mintel.com/trends/#/observation/1010486
- AAFP, “Inside Look at Using Telemedicine During COVID-19 Pandemic”, March 23, 2020 https://www.aafp.org/news/health-of-the-public/20200323covidtelehealth.html
- Healthcare IT News, “Telemedicine during COVID-19: Benefits, limitations, burdens, adaptation”, March 19, 2020 https://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/telemedicine-during-covid-19-benefits-limitations-burdens-adaptation
- MobiHealthNews, “Amwell scores $194M, as telehealth business booms during coronavirus pandemic”, May 20, 2020 https://www.mobihealthnews.com/news/amwell-scores-194m-telehealth-business-booms-during-coronavirus-pandemic
- HealthLeaders, “4 Ways You Haven't Thought About Using Telehealth During the Covid-19 Pandemic”, March 24, 2020 https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/innovation/4-ways-you-havent-thought-about-using-telehealth-during-covid-19-pandemic