COVID-19 Accelerates the Need for Remote Health Consultations

Indumathi Thyagarajan -
Illustration: © IoT For All

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of people in an unfathomed and unprecedented way. It has deprived a lot of people of being able to make ends meet. Among the most impacted are those in need of doctor consultations for their ailments. In the present scenario, regular doctor visits and health check-ups have become an arduous task.

Digital health platforms were available across the globe in different variants far before the onset of the pandemic. However, their adaption rate was low due to the cultural shift required in making consultations work from a personal visit to a virtual one. The pandemic lockdown in various countries necessitated the need for remote health consultations.

Since people fear contracting COVID-19, many avoid emergency rooms or doctor visits and are willing to be confined at home. Remote health consultations come in handy for those who need health care support even in those areas that are not related to the pandemic.

Online consultations and drug purchases ensure adequate availability of time for the physicians by providing more time to focus on critical cases. It simultaneously fulfills the needs of quarantined people with medical assistance. Many of the digital health platforms have further implemented the self-assessment tools for patients to evaluate their potential COVID symptoms.

Impact of COVID on Remote Healthcare

Virtual doctor consultations have become the safest option for people who suffer from normal inflammation, tooth pain, gastritis, or any other non-emergency situation. Governments of various countries created digital health applications that followed the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. These applications are beneficial for the general public to control the virus spread.

Countries like Australia, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, and India have worked on unique ways of assisting their citizens remotely with various health applications. The applications assess chronic health conditions and understand the factors of specific pathologies. Universal healthcare is designed to take advantage of the continuous data stream from the patients that help in making more informed decisions regarding tests and procedures.

Care from Home

Remote health consultation provides access to services that may not be accessible and reduces the need to visit hospitals and avail out-patient services. Doctors can monitor the treatment of a patient quarantined at home even if the doctor is also quarantined. This increases safety for patients and health workers by providing care at and from home.

Long periods of lockdown make it difficult for patients and doctors to physically visit a hospital for any type of illness. This can be addressed by AI-powered self-diagnostic questionnaires which are administered by a chatbot. These chatbots provide consultations, saving time and resources for physicians.

Thankfully, it’s possible to evaluate pulse rate, fever, cough, shortness of breath, and more remotely through the internet and get tests done from the patient’s doorstep.

Remote Health Technology

Remote health technology enables patients to reach out to a doctor from home through a digital health platform. Everything from decision support systems, diagnosis, treatment and health records are done by remote consultation. The application remains as a primary need for every user for advanced medical consultations. It aids the user to subscribe or order medication online, consult the right specialists through chat or phone calls, have medicine delivered to home, and more.

The AI-enabled Chatbot of monitoring apps plays a vital role as a symptom checker for patients, which is trained across a diverse set of specializations. It also allows the user to have planned consultations by scheduling appointments. Their wallets support all kinds of payment transactions as consultation fees.

Remote health applications are built using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to engage patients with a series of queries regarding their symptoms related to any health concerns. Mobile applications collect personal data about patients like the name, age, gender, medical history, etc.

The next step is for patients to enter related symptoms. With each symptom added, the application makes a deep investigation of the health issue with the patient and suggests a specialized regimen. In some applications, the conversations can be deleted by the user if they feel the need for privacy.

Assisting Healthcare at the Right Time

The lockdown of 2020 helped many businesses to adapt remote health consultations for their employees to assess their health and determine their safety to return for work. Many companies have further implemented health insurance with insurers that are partnered with remote health platforms to benefit their employees.

The online consultations on these platforms have increased multi-fold where people mostly consult a doctor on the symptoms of COVID, dermatologists, dentists, nutritionists, etc. In regard to this, the cost for every consultation has been reduced, free trials have been provided by a majority of digital healthcare companies, and increased the reimbursement coverage comprehensively. Remote healthcare is succeeding well by assisting the healthcare industry at the right time.

Author
Indumathi Thyagarajan - Content Writer, Mitosis Technologies

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Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...
Guest writers are IoT experts and enthusiasts interested in sharing their insights with the IoT industry through IoT For All. If you're interested in contributing to IoT For All, cli...