Remote Healthcare Work – Best Practices amid COVID-19

Midway through 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic is still surging through the world. In response to this, the SOPs (standard operating procedure) of social distancing are being employed worldwide. Workstations have been moved away from the typical physical offices into remote or work-from-home (WFH) settings. For the healthcare industry, remote monitoring healthcare has become a front-running option for most as individuals working remotely include physicians, clinicians extending telehealth services for acute illnesses or chronic diseases, administrative and financial teams, information technology teams, and healthcare providers. Through adaptability, with the most suitable practices, remote monitoring healthcare work can continue after the pandemic comes to an end too. These services have the opportunity of being more productive, convenient, and reliable compared to the output of healthcare workers in traditional physical workplace settings.

This virtual revolution of the healthcare industry is bolstering the comfort and the wellbeing of patients in their homes, through continuous remote monitoring and aid in treatment and medical procedures.

Remote Healthcare platforms and Teambuilding 

Telehealth platforms include live videos and two-way connections between the patient and the medical practitioner, remote patient monitoring where vital signs are monitored and communicated to the healthcare provider, store-and-forward practices of the physician emailing the historical documents and vital signs to specialists, video calls for consultations between the patient and practitioner, and device-agnostic systems and personal mobile smart devices that record a patient’s condition and their security.

Remote patient monitoring enables medical practitioners to regulate the advancement of illnesses and symptoms remotely and connect with patients digitally to revise healthcare schedules and to educate patients on self-care. This connect-based technological platform is especially beneficial for medication and treatment during a pandemic as it permits healthcare providers to oversee vital signs such as temperature, oxygen levels, pulse rates, and blood pressure harnessing virtually connected non-invasive instruments.

The healthcare industry is thriving to a certain extent in a remote work-from-home environment under COVID-19 alleviation and deterrence efforts. Institutions such as healthcare centers that effectively and efficiently assist all healthcare workers and employees during the pandemic, lays the foundation of boosting faith, reliance, confidence, and engagement. Authority figures in organizations can employ their leadership skills to exemplify that they care not just about the output of their work, but also their emotional and mental state, and who they are as human beings. This will further promote healthcare workers to be more amiable, empathetic, and understanding of their patients and their respective conditions and illnesses. Hence, this will encourage a spirit of achieving goals in a flexible, friendly, and remote environment.

Read more on How is Telehealth Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates?

Current practices in the pandemic

Due to the pressing and severe requirement to provide portable wearable devices amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the difficulties posed by the immediate provision of portable instruments at such a massive level, certain practices are effective.

Firstly, on device-agnostic systems and tablet-based technology, healthcare providers should limit the number of medical care applications. The applications must hold no financial cost, be simple to use, and must be operating system (OS) agnostic. A systematic and standardized strategy must be applied for establishing applications, and the device must be wiped clean of all old information to protect the confidentiality of patients.

Secondly, the devices must be user friendly, powered by artificial intelligence technology, and must be as touchless as plausible for patients. If as touchless as possible, this will limit the risk of infection to all the people around Covid-19 patients. Healthcare personnel, patients, and patients’ families must be made aware and educated on how applications must be employed through fundamental knowledge provided from websites, emails, or soft-copy or hard-copy pamphlets, specifically for older adults.

As remote patient monitoring has been expedited, it has substantiated itself as effective equipment to assist medical practitioners to triage incoming cases established on each patient’s circumstance. This promotes a privatized and decentralized prototype of medical care. From intricate detectors to progressive algorithms and artificial intelligence-powered platforms, the accurate wearable medical apparatus compile and communicate information to healthcare providers.

Through detailed product design and easy set-up provisions, digitization and reliable compilation of data difficulties can be solved. Through Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes remote healthcare work can be reimbursed. CPT is a medical ordinance established that documents medical, surgical, and diagnostic techniques and tasks to entities such as practitioners and insurance providers. Solutions by the Medicare industry are being incorporated into electronic medical record (EMR) systems of the healthcare personnel, while corporations that produce medical devices such as remote monitoring patches have become responsible to deploy their commodities for people who are diagnosed with COVID-19.  

The Future 

As remote healthcare work widens the digital hemisphere, it could aggravate existing unfairness and inequality. Remote healthcare has proven to be an attainable possibility for patients who have the financial capital to afford adequate broadband connectivity and the essential means to access the remote patient monitoring technology and devices. As per the Federal Communications Commission, over 21 million Americans are deprived of internet access, either due to a lack of financial resources or a reluctance to adapt to technological platforms, preventing them from accessing efficient quality care if remote patient monitoring transforms as the norm in society.

Though remote monitoring healthcare may widen the digital divide, employing the telehealth platform to discharge patients from hospitals to their homes and observe and regulate them remotely allows the hospitals to cater for patients who may require emergency care or medical care the most. Government funding of these healthcare centers after the pandemic comes to an end is not a choice anymore. It is a mandatory necessity. While looking into healthcare equity in access, affordability, and availability of services and probable obstacles, the healthcare industry, artificial intelligence companies, and the government have to be at the front lines for all strategic judgments and conclusions. By reviewing the statistics of medical care in Covid-19, this crucial information will influence how remote healthcare is implemented throughout the country while establishing criteria for reimbursement and principles of care.

If executed and enforced suitably, telehealth platforms can be an exceptionally practical strategy to guarantee patient and provider protection during this unparalleled outbreak of the virus. This pandemic will have long-term effects on the future of the telehealth industry while promoting the most suitable, reasonable, and favorable medical practices after Covid-19.

Kelton High Kelton High is a Social Sciences undergraduate who majored in International Relations, with a budding interest in qualitative research. He has previously worked at Transparency International.