Tele-health: A Boon for Medical industry yet a Dispute with the COVID-19 pandemic
Tele-health has diverse set of benefits and challenges
Due to strict lockdowns and dedicated hospitals for COVID– infected patients, healthcare sector has witnessed a radical shift around the world between doctors and patients. The digital transformation is unbelievable through which there is still an interconnection between the medical industry and the beneficiary. On-site clinics are shifted to several video conferencing apps to reduce contamination risk of both parties. The introduction of tele-health is crucial for the medical industry to take care of their existing patients as well as the prone ones. Let’s dig deeper into what is tele-health and how it is a dispute with the pandemic.
Brief introduction of tele-health
Tele-health service is the feasible digital domain of the medical industry to continue offering medical process to the needy ones. Governments of some countries have regulated policies to permit utmost utilisation of tele-health system in serving the public efficiently. It is emerging as a sustainable solution from taking precautions to getting treatment at home. Tele-health can be provided in three medical sectors— clinical service, administrative service and educational service.
Various technologies to be used in the system
- E-health sites with patient portal
- Online streaming through FB and YouTube
- Store-forward imaging
7 Reaping benefits of adopting tele-health
- Bridges a gap between medical consultants and people through virtual channels
- Minimises the potential risk of contamination between the front-line workers and patients
- No transportation and waiting costs as it is less time consuming to get treated via video channels
- Useful for follow-up cases of patients who are unable to walk or on bed-rest for a long period of time
- Hassle-free reviews of reports online to share the results with the potential risky patients
- Upgrades patient engagement with remote tracking
- Enhances workflow with smooth system
Though it is a boon for the medical industry in these times but nothing in the world has only advantages. It has to face challenges in order to overcome and showcase its important to the world. Thus, tele-health also experiences some real-time challenges to provide service effectively and efficiently.
- It is, indeed, important for rural areas where there are mobility issues to reach to the hospitals on time but there are high chances of digital divide. The rural regions have to be provided with a proper IT education and network in order to utilise the features of tele-health.
- There is a requirement for licence and credentials, which many hospitals cannot acquire for their limited scopes.
- Experienced and old-aged doctors and physicians feel that there is a lagging of physically examining the initial weakness experienced by the patients which is risky for the future
- It is an online domain which leads to online payment of the treatments or other services from the users. Online payment can be a barrier to aged people who live alone and lack the technical know-how.
- The severity of a disease or any important issue in the meeting may get missed due to poor network connection.
The mandatory social distancing and maintaining other safety protocols have created a boon of tele-health in the medical industry. The applications of tele-health system can smoothly be afforded by the higher income countries. But it is a long time process for the developing countries to avail the system and transform the health-care sector of the country. There are barriers to break before accepting the feasibility report on the tele-health. Data privacy is a crucial policy for the managements to gain huge real-time data analytics for regular treatments and follow-ups.
Nevertheless, the world is continuously developing to be a ‘tech-savvy world’ with 4G and 5G internet connections and more inventions of smart devices. The medical industry can see some future endeavours with the integration of tele-health system around the world. There are high chances of building specific online 24*7 medical platforms with experienced doctors and medical stuffs for treatment or online collaborations of field specific doctors within the country.
Tele-health will be in the fore-front of the healthcare sector as the technological evolution is creating higher expectations in the minds of the public. In the future, patients can choose the hospitals on the basis of the efficient service in the online mode. We cannot turn back time to the good old days of physical examinations for slight infections or symptoms, the credit goes to the coronavirus pandemic.