Telehealth is a term that will likely be used more frequently in our lexicon going forward as it becomes more of a fixture in our society, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Telehealth is a term that broadly refers to the use of electronic and telecommunications technologies and services used to provide care and services over a distance. Some examples of telehealth in use include things like a real-time phone or video interaction between a patient and their doctor, clinicians entering information with into a central database to share with other clinicians, etc. Telehealth even includes more cutting-edge tech as health care providers using peripheral medical equipment like a digital stethoscope to evaluate patients from another location. Even today, many people already use telehealth in some capacity.
While much of the tech used to deliver telehealth is not new (primarily, the internet), its widespread adoption among health care professionals and patients outside of telephone correspondence has been slow. Prior to the pandemic, increased interest in the use telehealth was shown by healthcare professionals and patients. However, due to the pandemic, the interest, as well as the push to develop the space, has been ramped up significantly.
During the pandemic there were times in which ERs were overflowing with new cases of the COVID-19 virus. Hospitals and other medical facilities were operating well over capacity, essentially forcing hospitals to collectively suspend “Non-essential” care (or functionally, care for non-life-threatening ailments). Individuals with a myriad of life altering injuries and conditions were often left without treatment. Furthermore, healthcare workers were exposed to the virus, which reduced the workforce and increased stress of the medical system. Telehealth services are seen as one of the solutions to increasing the capacity and quality of healthcare during the pandemic by decreasing direct contact with COVID patients, as well as providing care to non-COVID patients.
This article was written by an independent writer for Brewster Financial Planning LLC and is not intended as individualized legal or investment advice