The Rise of Telehealth
Covid-19 has swept through the Canadian provinces, bringing with it the recommendation to stay out of public spaces as much as possible. Medical clinics and hospitals are clocking in as some of the riskier places to visit. As a result, it seems, telehealth is finally on the rise.
Telehealth, or telemedicine, allows patients to meet with doctors and other medical personnel through secure video conference. In Canada, this has been a slow adaptation. In fact, for most physicians, the use of email or text messages is often an exception, rather than the norm. A lack of reliable infrastructure and support and unsatisfactory compensation for physicians have been the most common deterrents.
Telehealth: Forced Innovation
It didn’t take long to realize that the most effective strategy to fight the spread of the disease was to create physical distance. This left many medical professionals scrambling to find a way to help their clients from afar. Finding a system that could protect patient information and link to their electronic medical records (EMRs) was the biggest hurdle.
Many physicians and medical professionals are finding this to be time consuming and problematic. Toggling confidential patient information with their video conferencing software is less than ideal. Another draw back for many was the less than adequate pay structure for telemedicine. While there have been some recent improvements in this area, fee for service payment is still a relatively new concept and largely available within the private sector.
A current necessity
However, regardless of the pitfalls, the move to telemedicine is timely and important. Keeping people out of busy emergency rooms is paramount to keep Covid-19 at bay. This keeps potentially immunocompromised patients away from possibly infected patients with Covid-19. For many providers, this was the urgent push needed to get their telemedicine products ready for market. Jane, which offers online booking, charting, scheduling, secure video and invoicing on a secure system is one of such providers leading the cause in Canada.
Here to stay
While telehealth isn’t considered a full replacement for traditional healthcare, it may be here to stay in some facets. Certainly virtual appointments can not replace physical examinations. However, it can help to alleviate some of the demand on busy emergency rooms and walk in clinics now, while we face this global crisis, and perhaps well into the future.
If you have questions about implementing Telehealth with our services, we are happy to help!