Coronavirus and Tele-health
Most people prefer hands-on health care by seeking medical opinions from “live” professionals
– at the doctor’s office, the Urgent Care Clinic, the Emergency Room or wherever medical help is offered. Then times change courtesy of an encapsulated smidgen of RNA known as COVID-19, the dreaded, potentially aggressive member of the Coronavirus family. Sorting out symptoms can be confusing.
Is it a cold or the flu? Might it be coronavirus?
People who survived an acute attack have shared that they were surprised by sudden very high temperatures with a rapid progression of respiratory symptoms.
Yet, experiences vary.
And so, the old saying still stands: It all depends…! Because of the ease with which the coronavirus spreads, people are told among others to stay away from crowds and to use discretion before overwhelming health facility waiting rooms where their risks of infection might increase drastically.
Another concern is that patients with other conditions might be crowded out and not get the care that they need in a timely fashion.
Although caution is the word, we are NOT disconnected from our care givers.
Online health care options
There are online ways for reaching out to our health professionals. Find out what these are and give health telecommuting a try. For health care facilities and providers this might be a good time to increase the staff for these electronic resources.
· Check if your Health Insurance provider offers a Nurse Advice Helpline. Callers get the opportunity to discuss symptoms, risk levels and the availability of viral testing in their network or area with a professional who has relevant, updated information and who knows about the latest protocols, warnings and treatment options. Sometimes just having that chat can help a patient regain confidence and maximize self-care and self-monitoring. On the other hand, if the patient’s situation raises red flags, he/she is referred to the resources or facilities that offer the most appropriate help and precious time will be saved.
· Many clinics offer Tele-consulting with a physician or other professional. One might think of Skype or FaceTime medicine. This helps with case triage by providing information, care tips and follow-up scheduling for those who do not need a more in-depth evaluation. On the other hand, those who cause concern can be kept out of the waiting room and are referred to the most appropriate
facility for care and testing.
· Features such as MyChart let patients contact their doctor or health team via email for an opinion in non-emergency cases. Maybe, I am lucky but I have always had fast, same-day responses from my doctor/health team.
· Does your State Health Department have a coronavirus Hotline that refers people to the appropriate departments and resources for answers to their questions and concerns? In order to get information on what type of help the State may provide, this could be an important first step for those who do not have health insurance. And so, as we go through a very conflicting and upsetting health situation, we can make use of tele-resources in order to get updates, information and assistance without increasing our risks of exposure.
That said, be well and stay safe!
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