Telemedicine Re-imagined: Hype to Reality

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Telemedicine gathered a smaller place in the entire continuum of care. There were certain myths related to the adoption of telehealth and receiving high-quality care virtually. Mostly revolving around patients prioritizing relationships over transactional care, feeling that virtual systems are not at par with the physical examination and providers not getting the economic incentives digitally as compared to in-person visits.

With the sudden shift that COVID brought into our daily lives, it is time that these myths are busted and Telemedicine is given the chance it deserves. Especially, when the current scenario calls for virtual workflows in healthcare to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease. 

Why is Telemedicine important?

Available statistics show that over 40% of WHO Member States report to have less than 10 medical doctors per 10,000 population.

Health workers are distributed unevenly across the globe. Countries with the lowest relative need have the highest numbers of health workers, while those with the greatest burden of disease must make do with a much smaller health workforce. 

Up to 3.5 billion people – half the world’s population – still don’t receive the health services they need. And 800 million people spend at least 10% of their household budgets on health expenses for themselves, a sick child or another family member, sending 100 million of those people into extreme poverty, as mentioned in the World Bank/WHO UHC Global Monitoring Report. While this is an urgent issue in emerging low-and middle-income countries, sustainable access to care is also a severe issue in industrialized countries where social determinants have a direct link to the economic and social opportunities afforded to one population over another. 

Such global statistics confirm that the Density of doctors per patient population is very low. Hence, depicting a clear indication that physical consultations between doctor & patient have to change mediums immediately for faster access to care in times of need.

The Purpose of Telemedicine

In the US prior to COVID-19, ICU patients under telemonitoring showed a 26% reduction in death rate, a 30% reduction in length of stay in the ICU, and were discharged home 15% faster, as stated by the results of a Landmark eICU Study on Philips Telehealth Programs.

Keeping this positive impact in mind that Telemedicine can have on redefining healthcare, the health sector must build partnerships between the technology sector and providers to drive virtual care innovation. This will bring major encouragement for innovative digital players to connect to digital patient records and other existing technologies that medical professionals use today. With that, reimagined healthcare will be more patient-centric with improved safety, privacy, convenience, and comfort. 

Major Benefits:

  • Better Patient Care Outcomes
  • Patient care based on the adverse event severity scale
  • Improved Continuum of care cycle
  • Efficient use of Doctors/physicians time
  • Fewer medication errors and improved costs
  • Smooth transition from hospital care to long-term care
  • Reduced patient and staff stress 
  • Curtail the spread of infection

Rise in Telemedicine since COVID – 19

In a recent Telemedicine Webinar hosted by PubNub and AWS, Kabir Chandhoke, COO, SourceFuse, mentioned, “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen”, something that we can all agree on when it comes to the pandemic.

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the CDC has urged healthcare providers to communicate with patients virtually whenever possible. Essential to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, and also to curb the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) that needs to be saved for medical staff on the front lines.

In March 2020, the US Government allowed patients to tap Medicare funding when they receive care via telehealth during the pandemic, leading to its widespread use. Prior to COVID-19, physicians were generally not paid for telehealth visits at the same level as they would typically be compensated for in-office visits. This left little incentive for physicians to adopt telehealth broadly.

As a result of the public health emergency and because many physician offices are closed, Medicare has waived virtually all of these restrictions and has expanded coverage, meaning that telehealth services can be provided to a much wider range of patients. And further, for physicians, telehealth can provide a source of income during a very challenging time while equipping their practice for virtual care in the future.

SF Medic – A SourceFuse Product

As the world adapts to digital healthcare and remote medical care, SourceFuse strives to transform Telemedicine Services with cutting edge technology. By connecting doctors and patients, SF Medic, SourceFuse’s Technological advancement in the telemedicine space, expands the horizon of HIPAA Compliant video-conferencing tools improving patient responsiveness and reducing striking healthcare costs.

SourceFuse offers SF Medic as a standalone SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) solution for hospitals and specialty clinics. It is also available as a plugin that integrates into existing hospital management systems and EHRs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud and PubNub are the primary technologies used by SF Medic.

While building SF Medic, we leveraged artificial intelligence (AI) & natural language processing (NLP) services, real-time messaging, and most importantly, regulated infrastructure to protect patient data. Here’s why you should opt for SF Medic:

  • Spontaneous Clinical Decision Support
  • HIPAA Compliant Solution with built-in Security
  • Real-Time Messaging with Language Translation
  • Machine Learning and AI Capabilities
  • Personalized Patient Consultation with Speech to Text Voice Snippets