woman talking with her doctor online

August 13, 2020 2 min to read

Everything you need to know about telehealth in the Covid-19 pandemic

Category : Health

The telehealth industry is experiencing an unprecedented boost now. The COVID-19 pandemic has already changed the world in many ways.

An increased interest in this particular type of service is one of the changes that might last well after the crisis is over.

In fact, this might have been the push that telemedicine needed to become a true player on the healthcare arena.

These changes might transform lives for millions of people who still have limited access to healthcare services. Potentially, this development can save innumerable lives in the future.

History of Telehealth: From the 1970s to the COVID-19 Crisis of 2020

The history of telemedicine starts in the 1970s with NASA’s STARPAHC program. The Space Technology Applied to Rural Papago Advanced Healthcare was very experimental and strange back in the day.

It relied on microwaves to deliver healthcare services to a remote and isolated Indian reservation in Arizona.

The project wasn’t a big success and the first real telemedicine project that was international started only in 1989.

That particular project showed much more promise for the development of remote healthcare. It was geared toward helping the victims of an earthquake in Armenia.

Limited though it was, already it showed that medics can benefit greatly from having access to a huge pool of data.

For a long time after this, telehealth was limited to telephone services only. They were never widespread. However, they have always been a necessity. Therefore, the development of this industry has been steady, but slow.

No matter how fast the globalization and urbanization of the world are going, remote communities remain. These people have no access to healthcare, but they do often have access to telecommunication technologies today. Combining the two is the logical way to go. However, this particular development has been very slow until recently.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything by boosting the interest in the service almost overnight. Now not only the people with limited mobility or living in remote areas were looking to use these services.

Everyone who needed access to healthcare but didn’t have an acute emergency on their hands had to look for alternatives. So, telehealth went from being used by about 11% of the population to 46% in a few months.

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Telehealth Popularity Boost

The coronavirus pandemic had a tremendous impact on the healthcare industry. Sadly, most of it wasn’t good because the pandemic highlighted the many weaknesses of the current system.

One of those was how truly limited it is. With the increased number of patients, hospitals and clinics simply had no room.

One of the solutions to this problem was switching patients to remote appointments. Of course, not every kind of medical treatment can be done remotely.

However, those procedures that could be performed at a distance were rapidly moved to video conferencing and other types of telecommunications.

This is how telehealth moved from being the lifesaving service for a few remote communities to a necessary precaution for millions…
 
Continue reading the article and learn more about telehealth on Life Is An Episode website.
 
 

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