Telehealth Strategy To Combat Coronavirus Impact

Use telehealth to fight the Coronavirus pandemic? Sure. However, it’s about mitigating the impact of the virus on local healthcare more than fighting the disease itself.

This technology isn’t just video chat with your doctor. It’s a broadband-lead makeover of your local healthcare environment.

Telehealth is using intranet and Internet networks to diagnose, administer, initiate, assist, monitor, medically intervene, and/or report on the continuum of care (CoC) – that is, everything done medically to get you healed. Telehealth is every point along the CoC that broadband can influence.

But remember – no broadband, NO telehealth!! Historically, communities and co-ops have built broadband networks well, which is good because right now you don’t have a lot of time.

When you need to throw down Internet connectivity in a hurry, wireless such as Wi-Fi or fixed wireless may well. Some healthcare administrators and many lawyers will freak at the thought of healthcare by Wi-Fi. But check out the CDC’s predicted numbers and then decide. Where are your constituents? Is broadband coverage where they are? Political leaders, cover your ass by covering their’s.

Telehealth mission – mitigate impact of Coronavirus

New York Gov. Cuomo laid out in an update for that state’s action plan for dealing with the coronavirus. Every political leader from local to federal should take note. Telehealth can facilitate these objectives in one form or another.

  • Density (crowd) reduction, at least in doctors’ offices and ERs
  • Increase hospital capacity
  • Identify new hospital beds/
  • Convert facilities to deliver healthcare
  • Identify/recruit/equip more health-related staff

Here are the Governor’s slides and remarks – Pay particular attention to the first couple of slides.

While dealing with Coronavirus, don’t forget telehealth can deal urgent care such as accidents, trauma like strokes and heart attacks, chronic care, surgery recovery, etc.  Doctors and nurses are being slammed with Corona craziness, but other medical mayhem continues unabated.

Cities and counties vary. So should telehealth plans. Here an some generic telehealth plan elements to deal with the Coronavirus impact on your community.

  1. What is the healthcare need

Whats the definitive explanation of the healthcare that’s needed by the target population In response to the telehealth.

  • Demographics
  • Primary and secondary audiences
  • Elements of prevention
  1. What is the continuum of care (CoC) 

This is a layperson’s summary.

“COVID-19 infection requires a physical sample from the person – a throat swab, stool sample, blood draw – most of these you would want trained personnel to collect,” says Anne Chang, Director of Marketing at telehealth vender VSee. “Telehealth medical peripherals aren’t going to be of much help here. Virtual care where it is today is not going to be that helpful for identifying COVID-19 cases.”

If a person test positive for COVID-19 but the condition isn’t serious, the healthcare professional can allow the patientto “self quarantine” in a outpatient treatment environment via a telehealth remote monitoring system at home until cured.

If the patient condition is serious at the time of diagnosis, or becomes worse after self-quarantining, a clinician will admit the patient for treatment. The patient then rides out the virus until they get better or succumbs.

The continuum of care (CoC) for Coronavirus seems to be straight forward for most people. It’s the scale of the pandemic that threatens to bury American healthcare.

  1. What do we have now – actual current state of local healthcare

Relative to the CoC for Coronavirus, assess what is the quality of the element of healthcare, such as healthcare professionals, quality, availability, affordability of facilities,  (the city or town may already have this knowledge).

  1. What is the broadband resources needed to support the CoC

Resources may include the types of broadband infrastructure, digital equipment, training, digital literacy, portable hotspots and other wireless equipment.

These requirement likely will change as the telehealth strategy takes form.

  1. Status of actual broadband available

Many communities have a private or public (or both) broadband network already in place. The lucky ones have multiple network owners. The network may deliver all the broadband that the town needs for its telehealth plan. But this project element makes sure all of the stakeholders are aware of what broadband resources are at its disposal. 

  1. Telehealth strategy

These are some preliminary tactics and questions that can be included in the final telehealth program. This list also will be refined during the assessment process.

  • Determining locations and type of telehealth hubs
  • Designating alternative telehealth locations
  • Telehealth options for low-income, uninsured
  • Rules and regulations regarding telehealth (every state has different ones)
  • Contingency plans

For more information call: 510-387-4176 today!

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  • Who’s Craig Settles?

    Industry analyst, expert broadband business strategist, runs on-site workshops to help clients create effective broadband plans.

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