Staying at home and keeping outdoor activities to a minimum is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe from contracting the coronavirus. This is why many people have transitioned to working remotely – to limit the need to step outside their house and expose themselves to the virus.
Indeed, the pandemic brought about many changes to how people go about their daily lives, and these changes also bleed into how people keep their health in check, with telehealth gaining more traction than ever.
In the past, telehealth’s target audience was people who were too busy to fit a doctor’s appointment into their schedule or patients seeking consultation but could not visit a doctor’s office. However, almost everyone can take advantage of telemedicine in Singapore, now that we are trying to limit our outdoor interactions due to the pandemic.
What is telehealth?
By definition, telehealth means electronically providing consultation and care. This allows for a doctor’s appointment without needing to leave your house because it is done remotely – you can do it with your phone or laptop for more convenience. Some people refer to telehealth as telemedicine, but there are actually some differences that set them apart from each other;
Telehealth is a broad term that refers to using telecommunication devices to deliver healthcare services from a distance, while telemedicine is an actual medicine practice wherein the physician is at a set location and uses technology to provide his or her services on a remote basis.
What telehealth can do to help patients
As previously mentioned, telehealth in Singapore is becoming more popular because it gives people access to healthcare without exposing themselves to the virus present in healthcare facilities.
Furthermore, telehealth and telemedicine can help identify patients who need immediate medical consultation or assessment for health-related issues.
In addition, doctors or physicians can also provide coaching and support for patients who are currently managing chronic health conditions such as heart diseases, type 2 diabetes, stroke, to name a few. This also includes nutrition counselling and weight management.
Healthcare services that traditionally required physical interaction, such as physical or occupational therapy, can now also be remotely executed so that those who need them can gain access without breaking social distancing.
Why telehealth is relevant to COVID-19
Maintaining good hygiene and health practices are critical to combat the spread of COVID-19. That is why the government made it compulsory to keep our masks on even when vaccinated.
However, what exactly can it do for health concerns during the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic?
To begin with, telehealth can help screen patients who are manifesting COVID-19 symptoms, and a subsequent referral is possible through telehealth. It can also help facilitate a home recovery programme for COVID-19 patients who don’t need hospitalisation.
Although cases of COVID-19 in Singapore have remained generally compared to other countries worldwide, it does not mean we are entirely free from its hazardous nature. No matter how careful we are, we are still at risk of getting infected because of the constant mutations and how contagious and resilient the virus is.
This is especially worrying for the vulnerable, such as senior citizens or young children, because of their weaker immune systems. Hence, they are at greater risk of COVID-19 infection.
Even short exposures to COVID-19 virus particles may be enough to cause an infection and cause severe symptoms. Hence, these groups of people need to avoid exposure as much as possible.
Moreover, there are a variety of mandatory social distancing measures and practices care recipients and care providers must follow to stay safe from the infection. For instance, hospitals and clinics now need to implement capacity limits. This may result in long queues and exposure to large crowds, making it much easier for the virus to spread.
This is why telehealth and telemedicine play an important role in a pandemic such as COVID-19. Without the need for the doctors and patients to be physically present, they can ensure that the care recipients receive the care they need efficiently, safely and promptly.
The world is slowly becoming more and more digitalised, and because of the ongoing pandemic restrictions, telemedicine in Singapore is now made more accessible.
Should you need to see a doctor online, download the myCLNQ app, a one-stop app where you can get services such as a virtual consultation for any health concern, booking a private ambulance service in Singapore, and so much more.