Telemedicine can allow more people to have access to doctors. TUCHONG
No matter how advanced technology gets, it can never be a substitute for good doctors and medical workers. During this year alone, healthcare professionals from all over the world have been putting themselves in harm’s way to treat COVID-19 patients.
In times like this it is more important than ever that everyone has access to a doctor. But, according to statistics from the WHO, China has 19.79 medical doctors per 10,000 people (2017), the US has 26.12, and the UK has 27.86. While China does have 1.4 billion population, the relatively small number of medical doctors definitely presents an issue.
However, the rise of telemedicine allows doctors to make better use of their time and provides better healthcare access, especially for those in rural areas. Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, including online consultations and diagnoses, and remote patient monitoring.
In China, it is normal to book a doctor’s appointment using services similar to the app Dingxiang Doctor, but mainstream use of telehealth is still yet to be adopted.
According to the World Economic Forum, “While nearly every other industry adopted widespread use of conference calls, and more recently, video chats, in order to collaborate remotely, healthcare providers and patients were both hesitant to adopt these tools to deliver healthcare.”
However, COVID-19 could be the catalyst for them to adopt the new approach. Having one of the best healthcare systems in the world, Switzerland already offers virtual video appointments for private patients, but with cloud computing, this care can go even further.
With patient data being stored in the cloud, medical records can be easily shared and updated by all healthcare providers when required. With the addition of powerful cloud networks, wearable tech, such as bracelets, can monitor a patient’s key signs from their homes, removing the need for hospital care.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator Seema Verma told the Wall Street Journal, “The advent of telehealth has been just completely accelerated, [and] it’s taken this crisis to push us to a new frontier.”
Indeed, telemedicine will have a huge effect on medical care, allowing for more personalized treatment of patients long after this pandemic has relented.