Telehealth: how to provide healthcare continuity during the coronavirus pandemic?
During the coronavirus pandemic, many patients have decided not to consult doctors face to face, due to obstacles. Moreover, fewer and fewer patients with cases of stroke or myocardial infarction are monitored in hospitals. In order to maintain healthcare continuity in medical facilities, patients should be provided with safe and convenient ways of receiving advice and healthcare without having to leave their homes. Having in place the tools for video consultations and remote monitoring provides a good solution.
The role of telehealth during the pandemic
The pandemic has changed the way digital technology is perceived in connection with medicine and patient care. Electronic prescriptions, medical certificates and referrals have become broadly used virtually overnight. Telehealth has gained momentum and has now proven to be a convenient and safe tool to communicate with patients.Although COVID-19 has caused hospitals to be overburdened, other diseases are still around, and contact with a doctor is still necessary. ICT solutions have broadened the availability of healthcare, but they do much more. Applications or software for video consultations and patient monitoring have the following major advantages:
- lower service costs
- time saving
- higher treatment efficiency
- convenience of use
- higher efficiency of medical staff work
Therefore, patients can now be treated at home, with no need for queuing, waiting for a long time to see a doctor or coming into contact with other patients.
The development of services enabling remote patient care has been influenced by an increasing number of elderly patients, chronic diseases of civilisation, and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Technological progress in medicine and telecommunication only accelerates the process.
Remote consultations and patient monitoring
In response to world trends and demand for services of this type, Comarch has developed solutions to enable remote consultations and patient monitoring. Especially now, when the availability of healthcare on-site is limited, technology provides continuity of treatment and lets medical professionals keep up to date with their patients’ condition.
The advantages of this tool are that it is simple and intuitive to use, and guarantees a high level of security and confidentiality during tele-consultations, which cannot be provided by generally available means of communication. The system is dedicated to medical facilities and does not require integration with the internal software of a given institution. A patient registers similarly as before to make an appointment and, at the scheduled time, communicates with a doctor via a mobile application which can be downloaded free from the App Store and Google Play. Therefore, patients do not need to go to an outpatient clinic, and medical staff, during video consultations, are authorized to issue electronic prescriptions and medical certificates in a secure way.
Advantages of the application:
- ease of use
- confidential and secure communication
- independence from medical facility’s system
- possibility of integration with Comarch HealthNote mobile health record
This solution provides great benefits. Most importantly, it lets medical facilities give patients access to specialists, despite the pandemic, limits interactions between patients (reducing the risk of coronavirus spread), and provides comfort of treatment at home.
In order to start using the system, simply create an account on the Comarch MedCall website for medical entities and doctors.
Another solution is a system for remote monitoring of the condition of chronically ill patients and patients who have undergone hospitalization. Comarch HomeHealth may be used for a single patient, or for multiple patients. The tool consists of a mobile app which can be installed on a tablet or a smartphone, and the following integrated measurement devices:
- scales/scales with a composition analyser
- spirometer/peak flow meter
- eventECG recorder
- glucose meter
- pressure gauge
- pulse oximeter
Measurements may also be made using the patient’s own equipment and results can be recorded manually in the application.
Advantages of the system:
- suited to the individual needs of each patient
- provides patients and care-givers with a sense of safety
- more efficient and effective post-hospitalization therapy
- reduction in the number and duration of hospitalization cases,
- prompts and step by step tutorials to guide the user through all measurements
- measurement reminders
- transmission of data to Comarch e-Care telehealth platform, where information is analyzed automatically by the system
- description of measurements by medical staff
- measurement history is recorded
- simple and intuitive to use, including for senior patients
Automatic detection of health disorders and prompt notification of a doctor increases the safety of patients, by shortening the time of response to situations posing a threat to their health and life. It is the perfect solution for:
- medical facilities
- nursing homes and companies providing care services
- doctors and community nurses
- insurance companies
- institutions monitoring the health of the elderly, e.g. sanatoriums
Demand for innovative solutions
Experts stress that telehealth is currently an important tool in the fight against coronavirus. It ensures contact with a doctor without the need for a patient to leave home, and improves the quality of treatment and effectiveness of the healthcare system even when it is faced with numerous limitations and restrictions. Due to the fact that society is ageing and medical staffing is insufficient, the demand for innovative solutions is bound to rise further. Medical applications and remote healthcare systems may, in the future, substitute traditional treatment methods and consultations in medical facilities.