Your Health is Now in Now in Your Hand!
WAIT! What??? Yes, you have read it right and here is why:
You must have already known how technology is stepping up the game of digitalization in every walk of life including the healthcare sector. I am also pretty sure that most of you would have a vague idea about digital healthcare.
The first thing that comes into your mind would be probably the high tech gadgets or some sort of scientific sorcery that most of you must have seen in the Science Fiction Movies. You can say that it’s pretty much similar but digital healthcare is more than just a fancy Innovative Idea. For starters, let’s have a look at what actually digital healthcare is?
What is Digital Healthcare?
Digital health is a simple and general term. But, without a doubt, it is quite a positive impact of technology on healthcare. It includes everything from telemedicine, simple wearable health gadgets to robotic artificial intelligence medical, from simple online booking to remote video consultation, from healthcare apps to practice management software, from robotic carers to secure and fast e-health records. In short, it’s about utilizing technology to make healthcare easy.
But, unfortunately, health and pharmaceuticals are lagging behind in implementing digitalization as compared to other sectors.
Telemedicine and Telehealth
Telehealth and telemedicine are the terms that are used interchangeably. It is a part of providing medical healthcare remotely via video consultation, on-call/chat consultation and medicine delivery.
Need for Telehealth in Pakistan
The current pandemic of COVID-19 boosted the adoption of telemedicine. But, still, it faced many challenges. Now, if we particularly talk about telehealth in Pakistan, it is still growing and is in its early phases with limitations.
Pakistan has one of the highest populations in the world and still lacks in providing basic health consultation. Especially in the rural and hilly areas where people have to walk miles to get primary health consultation or even medicine.
During the pandemic even though online medical consultations and medicine delivery was initiated but considering the size of the population and social barriers, it needed more amendments. Telehealth service providers in Pakistan are limited if we consider the population of the country.
Benefits of Telehealth
These services are particularly aimed at providing disaster and emergency services such as in the case of COVID-19. The benefits of telehealth are for both the healthcare providers and the patients.
Various studies and current health emergencies have proved that it can be possible to utilize various medical services by telehealth such as consultations for primary care, psychotherapy, emergency services and even physical therapy.
Considering these factors, telehealth in Pakistan is very important for at least people would have firsthand experience with the best doctors at the comfort of their home without compromising their privacy.
Now, let’s have a look at the advantages of the Telehealth
Benefits of Telehealth Services
Telemedicine has proven to be beneficial for serious health conditions as per the stats that various studies have shown. One such example is the treatment of chronic heart failure in 2017. This study further showed that due to telehealth medication, the death rate was decreased, the hospital’s stays were shorter and even fewer patients were admitted to the hospital.
Now, I will be discussing the benefits of telehealth services for both patients and healthcare providers.
Telemedicine Perks for the Patients
1. Lower Medical-care Cost and Saves Time:
Some studies have suggested that telehealth can reduce the cost of healthcare. This is because telemedicine reduces the time spent in the doctor’s clinic or hospital, thus helps in cost saving considering the gross income of an average Pakistani.
This also saves the times in case of booking an online appointment with a doctor.
2. Improved Access to HealthCare:
Telehealth makes it easier for older adults and people with any disabilities to conveniently access healthcare. The advantages of telemedicine in rural areas of Pakistan can never be denied as telehealth would even provide primary healthcare to geographically isolated people such as in northern areas or areas which are not easily accessible.
3. Access to Preventive Care:
Telehealth can also make access to preventive medicine easier for the people and thus improving the health of people in the longer run. This case is particularly important for people with low income and even the ones with geographical barriers.
4. Convenience and Privacy:
Telehealth helps people in providing consultation to emergency primary care at the comfort of your home without compromising your privacy. This is extremely beneficial for housewives, older adults or just any person who doesn’t have time to take a day off for their medical consultation.
5. Reduces the Risk of Infection
Nosocomial infections also known as hospital-acquired infections are one of the leading challenges to healthcare providers. This is due to the fact that there are many patients that visit a doctor and the pathogens that are extremely harmful to the people with weak immune systems or who are suffering from any underlying health complications. So, telehealth decreases the number of visits of doctors and the risk of infectious diseases subsequently.
This dire need for telehealth is particularly noticed in current times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Advantages to the Healthcare Providers
There are several benefits for the telehealth and telemedicine services providers which are:
- Reduced Expenses: Digitalization reduces the extra expenses of the healthcare providers. They need less staff and less office space if they are opting for the practice management software.
- Increased Revenues: Telemedicine really helps in time management for the patients and their revenue is increased as it allows the doctors to give consultation to more patients.
- Patient Satisfaction: The healthcare provider can anytime consult and check the e-reports of his/her patients without any delay. The doctor would even get the patient’s satisfaction when the patient doesn’t have to wait for the appointment.
- Reduced Risk of Infections and Illness: As the healthcare providers have to check various patients so they are prone to infections and diseases. So, when healthcare is providing services remotely, it reduces their risk of diseases.
These are just a few benefits of telehealth. Like any other thing telehealth too, has its limitations. But, it is still beneficial for the medical condition that doesn’t require any physical examination or laboratory test. It is even more effective for mental health consultation which is still a stigma in our society.
When there are hurdles in the treatment during an outbreak such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, and you are far away from the medical care health facility then telemedicine is a good option instead of opting for self-medication.
Telehealth is the best option for those who are in far-flung areas away from the medical healthcare facility, even the ones who can’t go to the doctor due to any disability. But, while you are consulting online, you should provide detailed information to the doctor.
Considering the health situation of Pakistan, telehealth or telemedicine is one of the best and safe options for providing primary health care.