Doctors Step Up to Telehealth

Overview The COVID-19 outbreak has accelerated the growth and acceptance of remote health monitoring and virtual care. Beyond sparking opportunities for technology innovation, the pandemic has been a catalyst for reimagining how doctors can connect with their patients.

From infrared contactless thermometers to artificial intelligence-enabled symptom diagnosing, virtual care solutions and over-the-counter health devices have gained traction since the onset of the novel coronavirus.

The sudden and increased need for safe medical care accelerated the growth and acceptance of telehealth, which had previously only seen slow progress, according to UnitedHealthcare Chief Medical Officer of Population Health Management Dr. Donna L. O’Shea.

Patients had been more accustomed to in-person doctor visits, but as the pandemic led to stay-at-home orders, both patients and care providers had new safety considerations yet routine care needs — other than COVID-19 — still needed to be addressed.

 

Crash Course in Virtual Care

As the coronavirus affected the world, digital health companies swiftly engaged with patients to understand and meet their needs in a rapidly evolving health care environment.

The rapid onset of the COVID-19 outbreak paired with the previously slow growth of telehealth meant that many providers were unprepared to treat patients who were not physically present.

Companies like UnitedHealthcare worked to educate and empower providers by producing  webinars to help address health care workers’ concerns, demonstrate  technologies that care teams can use to treat routine care and coronavirus concerns alike, and share how health providers can engage with their patients in a productive manner.

According to UnitedHealthcare surveys Dr. O'Shea cited, by May 2020, 30% of Americans had experienced telehealth services, a significant growth over the 8% who had reported using telehealth services by December 2019.

 

Applying to Other Health Care

Remote appointments for other specialized care — including dentistry, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy and more — have seen new developments as well.

Because patients are experiencing increased stress and concerns from the pandemic, behavioral health care — which had already been embraced in telehealth more quickly than medical care — saw an uptick. Health care providers across specialties had to adapt to continue helping patients who were dealing with normal health care needs while social distancing.

At CES 2021, digital health experts and technology leaders in the space will share how care providers are continuing to forge new paths forward in support of the health and safety of our communities.

Digital health solutions have put care in the hands of the patients, provided doctors with more data than before, and created more efficient and in-depth methods of care.

Explore how the integration of artificial intelligence, robotics, 5G and more have changed the way doctors and patients deliver and experience care, no matter where they are.

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