As of March 6, it was announced that the coronavirus (COVID-19 )death toll in the U.S. reached 17. With the outbreak of the virus in full effect in the United States, providers are looking to limit the amount of exposure that patients are receiving by turning to telehealth solutions. In fact, President Trump signed coronavirus legislation, which allows Medicare to expand the use of telemedicine in outbreak areas, designed to reduce exposure and risk to the aging population, which is one of the most vulnerable.
In a public health emergency, telehealth is critical for containing and treating the disease. Megan O’Reilly, AARP lobbyist helped push through this legislation to provide telehealth services for the vulnerable, aging population. “For older Americans, this can help keep them safe,” she told U.S. News and World Report.
“Much like it has done for doctors assessing and treating patients for influenza—where its use has hit an all-time high—televisits can help doctors combat a coronavirus outbreak, even reaching patients in remote locations who have limited access to care,” explained Samant Virk, MD, of MediSprout for Health IT Outcomes.
However, in order to make televisits possible providers must be equipped with audio and video solutions that provide superior quality to help providers make accurate diagnoses. “One of the primary challenges that [users] face when trying to collaborate [virtually] is terrible audio quality,” shared Poly’s Brian Phillips. “Even after heading to a huddle room there’s still a lot of noise transfer.”
These complications are only compounded when providers and patients engage in video conferencing.
Now, not only are you dealing with possibly bad sound quality but you’re trying to get a decent picture. Where traditional video conferencing was designed to accommodate a super-wide angle, “today that’s not the view you want; in fact, you want camera technology small enough to focus in on the one person,” said Phillips.
With the $8.3B budget in place to enable a telehealth solutions to lower the risk of exposure for COVID-19, now is the time for best practices to be put into effect.. For providers, a video and audio conferencing system rooted in quality makes diagnoses quicker. And for a virus like COVID-19, the quicker it’s diagnosed the faster treatment can be administered. For patients with ongoing medical issues, not related to COVID-19, they also lower their risk to exposure by avoiding doctor’s offices and staying in their homes.
Learn more about quality video and audio solutions here.