Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Apr 10, 2021

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has drastically affected healthcare across the globe. Evidently, there is a concern about the overloading of the health care capacity. Providing primary healthcare during this pandemic appeared to be challenging as healthcare services are being disrupted due to inadequate protective gears, lockdown, risk of infection spread to patients and medical practitioners. In order to better mitigate and manage the spread of coronavirus hospitals can improve the efficiency of their medical system by replacing a proportion of physical treatments with digital technologies. Accordingly, physicians are providing medical-care remotely using telemedicine and virtual services. These virtual care services provide a variety of non-dispensing functions, enabling physician to provide quality medical-care services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Such services may include review of patient medication histories, health education, health therapy management, and drug use review remotely.

Telemedicine and virtual care can be integrated into the healthcare system as an approach to maximize the efficiency of healthcare delivery. It promotes social distancing measure and help medical centers in managing prolonged waiting times and risk of disease progression. By minimizing in-person visits and reducing face-to-face contact among physicians and patients, the use of virtual care solutions can help lessen the transmission of the virus and protect medical practitioners from infection. Telemedicine and virtual care can play an important role, especially with successful experiences in the management of previous acute respiratory infections such as Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). COVID-19 has resulted in many medical centers cancelling and postponing in-person outpatient medical visits.

Out of necessity, the use of telemedicine and virtual care has been suggested as a method to maintain a continuum of healthcare for patients. As a result, the prevalence of telemedicine and virtual care has rapidly increased during this pandemic. However, only few physicians and patients are adequately educated on how best practice on how to utilize these digital services. Thus, there is need to provide guidelines and recommendation to educate both physicians and patients on how they can best use telemedicine and virtual care. Therefore, the aim of this study is to provide recommendation and guidance to medical practitioners on the use of telemedicine to address COVID-19 response and similar challenges during possible future disasters.