The pandemic scenario in which we are finding ourselves right now is a uniquely challenging one for all sectors, health administration included. With the new safety measure in place, getting to your doctor to schedule an appointment might seem like an impossible task. However, a modern solution has taken the stage: “Telehealth”, providing medical advice and guidance via online video calls.
Independent of that trend, patient-doctor communication has recently taken a major shift for the online channels. Consequently, several dedicated platforms, programs and apps have cropped up for that very purpose. They have always been around, but have now risen to prominence in the wake of all the social distancing requirements and “emergency priority” getting completely redefined.
Here is a look at how this software contributed to Covid relief efforts.
Information broadcasting and increased message reach
The entire “COVID era” is a time of incredible cognitive shifts. New information is constantly popping up, views are being questioned, coping methods are trial and error and there is a lot of guesswork (well-educated guesswork on solid grounds, but still guesswork) going on.
One day something is recommended, then next week it is condemned, a lot of people fail to realize the scope and severity of the threat, and we are all terribly unsure of the actual efficacy of different types of face masks. But believe us when we say, this is perfectly normal.
What we are seeing with this pandemic is science happening in real time. Hypotheses are being formed, tested, and confirmed or disproven concurrently with the phenomenon being studied, instead of in a post-fact artificially induced laboratory scenario.
That leaves a lot of people confused and that is perfectly okay. We are used to “end-user science”, let’s call it, seeing published solid results, but not the brain-racking processes that have to be navigated to get to those steady conclusions. The scientific method is actually rather messy business, and you can learn all about how it works right here.
So, in a time of such informational turmoil, patients (just like the public at large) need to be informed of relevant updates as they occur, not after. Software for patient-doctor/ health care provider communication services has been invaluable in making that happen. It can and should be employed to inform both patients and health care facilities staff about a whole lot more than just appointment schedules. Here are some staple items that have been shared much more efficiently.
Patient communication software has helped inform people about what they should do if they suspect that they have contracted the new virus, as well as where to find reliable information about the new situation. People have been able to postpone appointments that were not essential and thus lessen the exposure risk. Health care facilities were able to notify everyone of their changed work hours, let patients know where they might be tested for coronavirus and when to go for a test – or when to not go.
Distance support with secure chat options and instant messaging
Social distancing is one of the most crucial measures we can take to slow down the spread of this horrendous new disease, but with those kinds of regulations in place, it can be really hard to establish any kind of meaningful and instructive communication with your doctor. Thankfully, with good quality platforms, we have managed to preserve sufficiently natural patient communication via the electronic channels.
Chat services have established two-way communication to clear up any questions, acting towards both treatment, prevention, and moral and emotional support. Via direct messaging apps and programs, people can receive all the information and answers from their chosen health care professionals, just like they could in a live face-to-face conversation. This helps maintain some sense of connection and support even when everything has to be at six apart every minute of the day.
Patients were helpfully informed about things like changes in their appointments or the facility’s work hours, whether anything has changed in the schedule, what exactly is available by way of medical help in the area, information about tests and where to go for testing, even seemingly mundane and trivial things such as directions to the nearest available parking spot.
Likewise, they could rest easy knowing that their information is secure. Any insecurities could be directly addressed via text and nobody else would ever have to know. Prescription renewals, following up on any regular therapy they may have been undergoing prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, all of that could be done from the safety and comfort of one’s own home. Patients have also been able to receive directions regarding care plans, self-quarantine directions and the like. By the way, if you would like some handy advice on how to handle quarantine fatigue, which is running rampant among the populace, check out this article: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-cope-with-quarantine-fatigue-4844181
Appointment bookings and appointment reminders
Appointment reminders apps have done so much more than just regulate no-show trends. During the COVID crisis, they have become instrumental in bettering informational access and helping patients stay safe during any kind of doctor visit in these days. Most notably, this is the kind of information that was offered via these software solutions.
Telehealth links: health care providers could supply patients with short and convenient links via which they can access various online services and schedule their appointments and consultations. They could also inform them where the designated waiting areas are, where they might park their vehicles, and where to wait for their appointment while maintaining compliance with the new safety measures.
Check in procedures have also been revamped into virtual solutions, and any registration forms or other paperwork have been migrated into the digital format, just one click away. Also, as hospitals and care centers have had to adapt their procedures to the current situation, many policies regarding support accompaniment have been changed, and so have other rules for visiting a doctor live. All of these updates to the situation are invaluable, a ND all were successfully sent out to patients – at least those that used the relevant software.
Making electronic appointments with all relevant information
Electronic appointment registration capabilities are extremely important, now more than ever. All office staff of a given clinic, for example, can instantly have as many copies as they might need of a particular patient’s information, condition, medical history, as well as any dorm that needed to be filled for their appointment, and the information about their payment options, too. This greatly reduced the hassle and waiting that we previously had, when we had to do all of these things face to face. It also decreases everybody’s chances of being exposed to the Corona virus, or any other health hazard for that matter.
This is true for those health care business that offer 100% online services, as well as those that still do some business in physical presence. With the elimination of paper, pens, clipboards, printers, and the like, e-appointment options have also eliminated that many more sources of germs and infections.
Self-screening prior to appointment
On a final note, the various patient communication platforms that have come to prominence during this situation also offer the option of “self-screening” when making one’s appointment. What that means is, you are required to take careful notice of your one health condition, how every part of your body feels, and whether the is something wrong. If any of your symptoms seem like you might have contracted corona, the doctors and staff will be duly notified and they will know to adapt to the situation.
This has been an overview pf how patient communication software solutions have been of help to the medical community, as well as to regular citizens who find themselves in need of medical attention for whatever other reason. Although tit can be sad that this approach to handling patient-doctor interactions is a little unorthodox, that seems to be exactly the line of thought we need right now. Unfamiliar scenarios will cause unfamiliar changes to the everyday, and we adapt.
We hope that you found this article helpful and that you now have a clearer idea of how these communication programs and apps contributed to the anti-pandemic effort around the world. Do you have any personal experience using them? How did it work out for you? Do you have a favorite? Leave us a comment with your opinion!