Health, one of our foremost priorities, had a considerable impact due to the current lockdown. Govt and health authorities everywhere around the world are trying to cope with the stress on the health care facilities.
Some facilities are now solely dedicated for the fight against the viral pandemic, others had to reorganize and repurpose their departments to cope with the sudden influx of covid patients.
Routine procedures have been limited to some extent and followup visits limited.
In these testing times we just can’t let other illnesses off guard.
One way to partially fill the gaps is TELEMEDICINE. Though it should be kept in mind some diseases need urgent treatement on emergency basis, that needs patient visit to health facilities and that should not be discouraged e.g a person experiencing acute chest pain needs urgent review by a medic in person. The rest of non-urgent or cold diseases can somewhat be dealth with Telemedicine
What is Telemedicine
Telemedicine involves doctor patient interaction virtually, that may utilize Text, Voice or Video call.
Healthcare workers have felt the need to avoid non-urgent patient visits to lessen the exposure to both the patients and the health care workers. Diabetics and hypertensives e.g can consult their levels and targets with their treating physcian via telemedicine and receive the prescription the same way, all at the comfort of their homes.
Telemedicine can also help in screening the patients that might need hospital care from those that can be followed via telemedicine.
Currently several of the tertiary centers have set-up their helplines including most of the teaching hospitals in punjab and some private sector hospitals too, where you can consult the relevant department online and discuss your case. A simple online search or calling the respective helpline of the healthcare facility will guide you about any telemedicine offering.
Recently the govt also took the initiative under Digital Pakistan at telehealth.gov.pk where volunteer doctors have came together to provide telemedicine services via call/whatsapp making health awareness and health queries at the finger tips of the citizens.
Telemedicine for doctors
For doctors telemedicine provides convenience to stay connected to their patients for followup, as several health facilities have restricted outpatient clinics and patient visits for non-urgent illnesses. The services that are being utilized are whatsapp, skype, while some professional telemedicine services are also available which handle the technical aspects as well as record maintenance on a single portal, for those who don’t want to utilize the social apps for professional purpose.