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A widespread infection has always been a nightmare for humanity. In the 13th Century, the Black Death wiped away half of the European’s population. Fast forward to 700 years later, after a few victories along the way, humanity is now faced with the emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 has been haunting the world since the beginning of the year 2020, and the number of cases worldwide has just surpassed 100,000 recently.
However, unlike the days during The Black Death, today we are blessed with powerful information technology. Hence, we have the rise of telemedicine -- which patient care is achieved through telecommunication and other technologies, without the limitations of time and space.
Telemedicine is especially valuable when it comes to infection control. In today’s age where almost everyone has a smartphone in their palm, telemedicine is more accessible than ever before. Here are five reasons why you should leverage telemedicine, especially during a public health crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak.
1. Telemedicine allows you to talk to a doctor without going to a clinic or hospital.
The most obvious advantage of telemedicine during the COVID-19 outbreak is allowing you to consult a doctor, without having to drive to a clinic or hospital. Not only that brings tremendous convenience to you, but it is actually an effective approach for infection control: it makes you go out to the public less. High-risk individuals such as the elderly, people with a lung condition, cancer, heart disease or diabetes are especially susceptible to infections such as COVID-19. These individuals are encouraged to reduce unnecessary visits to the hospital and avoid congested places as much as possible to lower the risk of getting infected.
You may ask any enquiry about COVID-19 for FREE now on the Doc2Us web portal or via the app. Other telemedicine platforms such as BookDoc and Doctoroncall also provide free COVID-19 online consultation.
Of course, for some conditions whereby physical examination is needed, you are still required to visit a doctor physically. Telemedicine does not aim to replace that, but rather, it functions as a filter that can eliminate unnecessary physical meeting with the doctors. If an effective consultation can be done online, why not?
2. Telemedicine helps the doctors to evaluate the risks of you getting COVID-19 without meeting you in person.
Risk stratification plays a major role when it comes to infection control. This helps the doctors and healthcare providers to make decisions, such as to advise you whether you should visit a hospital based on described symptoms or to advise you how concerned you should be if you are feeling unwell. All these interactions can be carried out without meeting physically. This helps to protect doctors and healthcare professionals from those who might be infected but have yet to show any symptoms. In fact, you can now evaluate your own COVID-19 risks via the virtual COVID-19 advisory portal.
3. Telemedicine allows you to get your medications without going to the pharmacy.
If you can shop online for your favourite clothes, why not do the same for your medications? Through telemedicine, you can have medications delivered to your doorstep. No more waiting for dispensing and lining up at the cashier. It comes with a similar perk as the point mentioned above: you avoid exposure to the COVID-19 virus lurking around in the public area by going out less. But the reverse is also equally true: when you are sick and need to get your medications, you would not want to go out to the public and spread your germs to somebody else.
But wait, how about the medications that require a doctor’s prescription? Don’t worry, with the implementation of an electronic prescription system, your medications are still legally prescribed by a doctor and dispensed by a qualified pharmacist. And if you worry the postman may throw around your Lipitor® like how he did to your other parcels, we assure you that the medications will be delivered safely to you in a secured package.
4. Telemedicine can help to fight misinformation and change how consumers acquire healthcare advice for the better.
With the invention of Google and social media, we love to turn to them for information, including healthcare advice. But how can we tell if the healthcare information we get from Google is accurate? And even if it is, healthcare information has to be personalised based on an individual’s condition and scientific investigations. This can only be done by trained doctors and healthcare providers.
Not to mention the many misinformation circulating on social media. Not only healthcare misinformation can cause someone to miss the opportunity for getting treatment, but it also creates unnecessary fear. This irrational fear about the outbreak has caused panic buying and posed serious problems to the global supply chain of many healthcare supplies.
Telemedicine can serve as the Google of healthcare, where anyone can gain accurate healthcare advice from professionally trained healthcare providers. During a public health crisis such as the COVID-19 outbreak, doctors and healthcare providers can use telemedicine for public health education, whenever and wherever they are.
Telemedicine is not the magic bullet to solve the COVID-19 outbreak, but it certainly has infinite possibilities to tap into. Information technology is a double-edged sword, we can use it to spread misinformation and fears, but we also can leverage telemedicine for the betterment of healthcare and public awareness.
Here are some recommendations of telemedicine app you can use during the COVID-19 outbreak. Stay safe :)
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Introducing DOC2US, Your Trusted Online Doctor. With its name synonymous to “talk to us”, DOC2US is a mobile application that allows you to talk to a doctor or any healthcare professionals via text chat at any time and from anywhere.