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3 Ways Telemedicine Can Help In Flu Season

3 Ways Telemedicine Can Help In Flu Season

A century ago, one third of the world’s population was struck by an illness. This pandemic – one of the deadliest in human history – spread like wildfire from country to country, infecting millions – even those living on remote islands.

The name of this deadly virus? The flu, or the H1N1 virus, to be more specific. We still have the H1N1 virus with us today as seen in the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which claimed more than 284,000 lives across the globe. The flu remains a potentially deadly, recurring illness.

This year, however, a new, never-before-encountered virus is terrorizing the world; the coronavirus (COVID-19) is making flu prevention particularly urgent. Health specialists and organizations are hoping that remote learning, working from home, and social distancing will stem the contagion.

However, with most healthcare facilities already at full capacity with infected patients, we’re still in a state of crisis. Fortunately, modern technology has given us a few clinical solutions that can serve as an effective weapon against the flu, with telemedicine being one of them.

The following are three ways telemedicine and telehealth services can help in the flu season.

Faster Treatment
Sick patients should ideally receive treatment within two days, as antiviral drugs are generally most effective when administered within 48 hours of the symptoms first appearing. However, getting an appointment on short notice is not realistic, particularly in the current situation, where there’s a shortage of providers. Even those who succeed in securing an appointment may dread having to wait in the waiting room with other sick patients. Online doctor appointments, on the other hand, are much safer and faster.

Rural Care
Even after the Spanish Flu pandemic was deemed to be over in 1920, people were still dying – mostly in rural areas. And, it’s increasingly likely that we’ll see the same factors play out again. Some of the biggest coronavirus hotspots in the country are rural areas and small towns, where the scarce healthcare resources are already stretched to breaking point. Flu patients in rural areas may find that there just aren’t enough providers to treat them, which makes telehealth services a necessity.

Capacity Management
Although patient volumes are generally high in flu season, the disease itself is classified as a low-acuity condition. Many facilities and practices find their calendars filled up with patients experiencing low fever or a cough, and they struggle to see patients who have a serious illness.

Telehealth can help in freeing up staff to virtually treat flu patients, while ensuring their exam rooms remain open for patients with chronic conditions and high-acuity needs.


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