The pandemic was a time of upheaval. The healthcare industry faced some of the biggest challenges. It was forced to shoulder the pressures of a pandemic almost overnight. Those who previously doubted or rejected telehealth platforms had to embrace it in a hurry.
At the peak of the pandemic, hospitals and medical offices became no-go zones for all but the sickest patients. This created the need for a platform to help otherwise healthy patients seek medical services without jeopardising their lives. Telemedicine was the obvious solution.
Now, telehealth platforms are the centrepiece of all hospitals, clinics, and medical offices. The healthcare industry has come a long way. Amidst the challenges of navigating the novelties of telemedicine, telehealth is missing something—the human touch.
Telemedicine is here to stay, this is inevitable. In the aftermath of a pandemic, how are we adapting to such technology? Are there certain challenges that we need to overcome?
Telehealth supports remote patient care
Telehealth platforms were an effective and sustainable solution for precaution, prevention, and treatment to stem the spread of COVID-19.
It bridged the gap between people, physicians, and health systems. It helped symptomatic patients stay home and communicate with physicians through virtual channels. This, in turn, reduced the spread of the virus among other people and healthcare workers.
Telehealth platforms have proved to be an effective and sustainable [link to article, ‘What does a patient monitoring system look like post-COVID-19?‘] patient monitoring system to treat patients infected with COVID-19.
How telehealth responds to the demand for better and faster healthcare
Telehealth is an effective solution to help people seek medical services for other ailments during the pandemic. These patients can receive care from the comfort and safety of their homes, without entering medical facilities. This helps minimise the risk of contracting the virus.
Telehealth is also bridging gaps in the provision of specialist services to patients. Specialists like neurologists or oncologists, who would not have been able to treat patients in remote areas, are now only a few clicks away.
Local, primary healthcare providers use telehealth platforms to refer to these specialists and provide resources to patients who are in need.
This is also convenient for patients and their carers as seriously ill patients can stay in their local hospital, without needing to visit referral centres or clinics in the city. During a global pandemic, this has proven to be extremely helpful.
The challenges telehealth platforms need to overcome
Telehealth was a blessing for both medical staff and patients, but it may have some initial challenges.
To begin with, it’s a new technological platform that people had to get accustomed to and learn to navigate. Many may have struggled to understand how to use telehealth platforms and how concepts such as a virtual waiting room work.
[Link to article, ‘Telehealth in the Context of COVID-19: Changing Perspectives in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States‘] Older people, who are major users of telehealth services, were positioned as the main benefactors of such services. Telehealth platforms can be complex and difficult to navigate for this demographic.
Even for tech-savvy audiences, a complex system can create confusion, which may result in patients struggling to connect with the support they need.
Adding the human touch to telehealth
Telehealth may come off as mechanical and impersonal. Healthcare is known for its human touch, care, and empathy. When telehealth platforms feature pre-recorded messages and robotic navigation, patients can feel less cared for and look to providers that offer a more compassionate approach to virtual healthcare.
The human touch is critical during initial interactions with patients. Patients decide on getting medical care because they are seeking comfort and relief for their ailments. Showing them the empathy they need is something a pre-recorded message or AI cannot offer.
This is why healthcare providers need to choose telehealth platforms that provide a more human approach, instead of one that prioritises efficiency that compromises the quality of patient care.
Drive the future of healthcare with empathetic telehealth services
Technology does enhance healthcare. It offers faster care and makes healthcare services more accessible than ever before. These services, however, must reflect the compassion of medical staff and support their workload. Empathetic healthcare services not only create better patient experiences, but also lead to more favourable health outcomes.
That’s why Eniax provides you with all the benefits of telehealth with a human touch. Offer your patients the kindest care possible with innovative and humane telehealth services.