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The time after 2019 has been harsh. Since the emergence of the pandemic, there has been a global strain accompanied by lockdowns, isolation, quarantine measures and the rush to develop potential vaccines. Being ‘virtual’ became the reality. Everything from education to healthcare transformed.
The most affected industry from the COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly the healthcare industry. At present, it is at a turning point. Everyone raised concerns regarding personal health and social distancing, the impact of which is the introduction of virtual methods of providing healthcare services during the pandemic. Patients prefer not to visit the hospitals and clinics unless the situation is really critical. They were apprehensive of physical visits to hospitals/clinics for being infected was a considerable risk.
From the perspective of doctors and other healthcare providers, they cannot adhere to social distancing norms because of increased workload, more testings, and they too had a constant fear of being infected. If they wanted to provide quality care without using the traditional means of treatment, they would have to shift to the virtual healthcare systems.
Here are some of the factors that induced changes after COVID-19:
- Fear of infection among patients and doctors
- Quarantine requirements in the affected areas
- Availability of food and care during the quarantine period
- Accessibility to patients staying in remote areas
- Social distancing among healthcare staff
- Eliminating the paperwork in the hospitals/clinics
- Long waiting queues for consultations
- Repeated visits for collecting reports
- Regular visits in pathological labs
As per a recent survey in Canada, 75% of the population expects significantly higher investments in digital health solutions by 2030. This shift is certainly due to the pandemic and subsequent rise of health as a priority for Canadians, establishing virtual care to become a permanent tool and reshaping the way health care is provided across countries.
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Here are the 5 major benefits that are expected by setting up virtual healthcare systems:
- Enhanced quality of care:
Virtual healthcare systems will eliminate the risk of healthcare workers and patients in the waiting room being affected by the virus. Also, with the rising number of cases, the hospitals are running out of beds and will eventually be at capacity and not be able to admit anymore patients. Virtual systems expand the reach to people living in the country’s remote corners, provide better connectivity between doctors and patients, and help to employ the workforce required for a single patient based on his condition.
- Cost reduction:
Since a lot of people are coming in contact with the virus every day, the need for infrastructure such as hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators etc. has been significantly increasing. To match the escalating costs, patients or the government have to increase their spend causing an expenditure deficit. To help combat this, virtual healthcare is the most effective solution providing a substantial reduction in hospital costs.
- Better monitoring:
The clinical outcomes from this transition are really effective. With complete adherence to intervention strategies and improved chronic disease management, the healthcare industry revealed excellent results. The data for each patient’s health situation can now be regularly monitored and complete strategies on how to treat them are communicated to them.
- Improved patient satisfaction:
The patients who were initially struggling to get their treatment done correctly are now more confident of their treatment procedure. Being able to stay at home, they can use their own sanitized products that reduce the risk of infection and contamination that might have happened if they were in the hospital. They feel safer being able to isolate themselves in their own homes. As a result, patients are interacting and effectively communicating with their doctors and the doctors are happily and successfully engaging with their patients through virtual platforms.
- High accessibility:
With the onset of virtual healthcare systems, there is minimal chance of regional disparity in the care standards. This is because the applications and software designed have the ability to detect the people nearby who are infected by the virus. The specialists are evenly distributed, and everyone is receiving the proper treatment. With access to the data of COVID-19 patients by healthcare staff and the government, people can rest assured that they would be receiving the required treatment or necessary medication.
COVID-19 can be termed as a catalyst for change. Methods that shift care away from hospitals toward the home and community are speeding up. At the same time, there is a substantial increase in digital literacy such as stay-at-home guidelines for people’s own safety. As a result, digital tools such as videoconferencing through Zoom, Meet or Microsoft Teams, remote monitoring, healthcare tools such as Wello, Tia or Tulip and data analysis are playing a vital role in enabling virtual care. Whatever the case may be, we are your Canadian benefits consulting group who are just a phone call away!
Stay healthy! Stay safe!
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