news

2021

HEALING FROM A DISTANCE

How the rise of telemedicine can create a healthier population and workforce

We’ve long known the value of online health related services, broadly known as telemedicine, but it’s really catching attention during the pandemic. Our partner company Farla International adopted telemedicine before the pandemic to engage patients, track pill and exercise adherence and offer convenient diagnosis, communication and follow up care (this includes support, guidance and even rehab after discharge from hospital). Now, we see a surge in interest and conversion to this type of accessible and safe healthcare service.

If you think telemedicine is a video chat with your doctor, it’s much more. Specialized kits include a blood pressure cuff, electrocardiogram, glucose meter, thermometer, oximeter, otoscope and even ultrasound which are all used and recommended by physicians and allow live streaming data collection and immediate file transfers to your physician. Simpler kits offer over-the-phone screening tools and basic healthcare access.

In rural areas, telemedicine has been a game changer. Where even basic diagnostic tools and healthcare practitioners were scarce, specialized healthcare platforms integrated with an Electronic Health Record platform are fixed in a travelling unit or at a primary health care facility. They provide immediate medical care and follow ups are easier as patient records and consultations data is logged and collated on a cloud-based tool. These tools allow personalized messaging and timely delivery of information that is relevant to the patient through data analytics.

Telemedicine reduces healthcare costs by freeing up hospital resources and rooms for patients who are in most need and reducing the number of bed days of care. It offers financial savings to the patient as a consultation comes in well under a doctor’s visit and more insurance companies are getting on board and encouraging its usage. Telemedicine can be adaptive and collaborative. Some hospitals tie up with holistic practitioners to provide a bigger picture for patients as it encompasses mental health and even substance abuse.

During COVID as hospitals are coming under pressure and are pushed to the brink, telemedicine can be a quick and parallel support. When an infected patient is quarantined in a hospital room, carts with video cameras and other equipment can be rolled into the room so that physicians can check in without having to visit the patient’s bedside several times a day. Doctors say recovery outcomes through telemedicine are higher due to closer monitoring and adherence to prescriptions and exercises, which may be partly due to usage of behaviour science methodology through digitisation.

Telemedicine is reliable, cost effective, user friendly from the comfort of your home or while you are travelling and like all things Internet, it can be adopted very quickly. It protects you from possible COVID exposure during a hospital visit as there’s no more sitting in crowded waiting rooms or waiting for appointments. The World Health Organization calls it “Healing from a distance.”

For more information on our life science solutions or our success cases in Africa or rural Latin America, email us at daniel@farlainternational.com