Tech at Large Topic of the Week

Telehealth to protect patients from the coronavirus

As victims of the COVID-19 pile on by the minute, doctors around the world worry about their more fragile patients. Telehealth, whether it be remote monitoring or even virtual visits, seems like the way to go to against the coronavirus.

Cardiac patients are especially vulerable to the coronavirus

Cardiologists are responsible for the health of some really frail patients. Whether it’s coronary heart disease, heart failure or valvulopathies, very few of the patients that visit cardiology clinics every day would survive a COVID-19 infection. For that reason, physicians and patients around the world are cancelling regular appointments. This knee jerk reaction is rational, but patients that aren’t followed up on quickly deteriorate. This is where telehealth could come in to save the day.

Telehealth-based coronavirus diagnosis

Inexperienced patients could mistake heart failure symptoms for a COVID-19 infections. Telehealth provides an alternative of having these people going to coronavirus centres and exposing themselves to the virus – bring the doctor to them. Indeed, having a virtual visit with a physician can direct a cardiac patient that’s feeling unwell to correct actions.

Telehealth: Not just for the coronavirus

The tools a modern cardiologist needs to examine patients is a stethoscope, a blood pressure monitor, an ECG and an ultrasound station. Thanks to innovations in technology, all of this is possible remotely. The Eko DUO can give doctors ECGs and sound-clips of patients’ heartbeats and the Butterfly iQ (which incidentally, can also help diagnose COVID-19 with lung ultrasound) can send remote images to the doctor. As for blood pressure, well heck, even smartwatches measure blood pressure nowadays. With proper preparation and logistics, there is thus little to prevent virtual cardiology visits that are safe and useful for both patients and physicians.

Telehealth and coronavirus: The shock doctrine

Just as telecommuting will probably outlive the epidemic, successful applications of telehealth service will also become mainstay in patient treatment. About 325.000 people in the US alone suffer from terminal heart failure, while most of them are bedridden. Giving these patients access to high-quality healthcare via virtual visits can go a long way in their treatment. Until then, we suggest everyone wait out the pandemic by hunkering down and binge-reading our articles.

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