Telehealth might become the next big innovative move in healthcare
Telehealth is the ability to connect with doctors and medical personnel through the use of technology rather than physical visits to their offices. During the pandemic, it was the default option for most patients. Due to its effectiveness and ease, it is likely to become a permanent part of the healthcare landscape.
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Along with the rise of COVID-19 cases, came the rise in fear of hospital visits. The number of visits to ambulatory practices dropped by almost 60% in early April of 2020.  Also, in-person doctor visits dropped by nearly 60% in some parts of the US. This is the type of pattern that experts predicted as the outcome of a pandemic or a national emergency. While all of these numbers dropped, the number of telehealth visits grew at an unprecedented rate. Using various apps on smartphones or web-cam services, doctors are able to stay in touch with their patients 24/7. Many of the past physical exams that needed to done in person can now be conducted virtually through advanced algorithms in specialized apps. This has made it possible for patients to decrease their visits to the hospital and it has protected doctors and patients from possible additional exposure.  Although telehealth was widely popularized during the COVID-19 pandemic, such systems have been in use for years now. Most primary healthcare centers offered patient-oriented telehealth services well before the pandemic but there was a lack of consumer trust. However, telehealth will definitely be viewed in a different light following the pandemic and it might become the next innovative technique in healthcare.
Telehealth has only been people's go-to option during the pandemic because most hospitals have pushed them to chose it. It has definitely offered a protective measure for both patients and doctors. However, this trend is unlikely to continue because there are many negative effects associated with telehealth. Many major health problems or complex symptoms cannot be easily diagnosed with just a camera. Doctors usually use expensive and meticulous instruments to correctly determine different health problems,  This simply cannot be carried out with telehealth. Also, there might be major regulatory or legal barriers to this technological tool. Telehealth is an evolving field and most doctors and patients are not going to put their wellbeings at risk by trusting in such technology.