COVID-19 dramatically altered the way patients receive care. One of the most notable examples of this was the shift to telehealth during this time frame. A recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for instance, indicated that there was a 63-fold increase in telehealth among Medicare beneficiaries during the pandemic. Now that COVID-19 numbers are declining and patients are returning to doctor’s offices, many reasons persist to continue using telehealth. Here are a few innovative ways for physicians to use telehealth services.
Remote Medical Imaging Collaboration
While connecting patients to providers is the most well-known way to use telehealth, provider-to-provider telehealth has also become increasingly popular. One way this is useful is for medical imaging purposes. Imaging technologists have been using telehealth services to remotely assist and train their colleagues in different locations. This is beneficial because it allows real-time, over-the-shoulder collaboration of a patient still in the imaging facility, which ensures a more timely diagnosis. It also minimizes the burden of unnecessary repeat scans due to the second pair of eyes overseeing the process.
ICU Assistance From a Distance
Intensive care units also benefit from using telehealth. Through high-definition cameras and data visualizations, care teams in central facilities monitor patients remotely and interact with their bedside team, advising them of the most appropriate care settings and notifying them of patient deterioration. This allows for fast interventions whenever necessary. During the height of the pandemic, this was useful because ICUs were so overwhelmed with patients. It is also a unique way to address staff shortages or night shift work: when staff is minimal at a facility in the U.S., for example, a critical care team in a different time zone across the world can keep a more watchful eye on an ICU patient.
Ultrasound via Telehealth Tech
In remote regions where specialized staff is limited, telehealth software has the power to fill the gaps. While ultrasound technology is becoming easier to use, a high level of manual skill is still necessary for more complex clinical cases. In conjunction with live collaboration platforms, an experienced sonographer in an urban setting has the ability to support less experienced colleagues in a rural area remotely during an exam. This workflow is also beneficial because it is able to provide more immediate reassurance to the patient: rather than wait weeks for results to reach them, a specialist is able to explain the ultrasound’s findings instantaneously.
Monitoring Patients with Wearable Biosensors
Remote patient monitoring has become increasingly popular in recent years. One recent trend in RPM is the use of wearable technology that monitors everything from heart rate to respiratory data. This became especially useful during COVID-19 when PPE was limited and hospitals used biosensors to remotely monitor patients, lowering the risk of staff being unnecessarily exposed to the COVID ward. Wearables have also become popular when transitioning a patient from hospital to home care or for chronic diseases like COPD. This workflow is advantageous not only for the patient’s comfort level, but also reduces their cost of care. It also prevents some hospital readmissions because physicians are able to more proactively address signs of patient deterioration.
Improve Patient Care with DocResponse
DocResponse’s ever-evolving telehealth solution is part of the digital healthcare revolution. It connects patients and providers seamlessly without the use of downloads or sign-ins. Third-party log-ins allow for additional specialists or translators, making this a sound option for populations with a large Spanish population. This software has the ability to transform any practice into a healthcare facility of the future. As technology advances, the constrictions of physical locations will become less burdensome moving forward.
Schedule a demo today to learn how DocResponse is paving the road for a more remote-friendly, tech-forward medical practice!