Were we to set the clock back by eight months possessed with a premonition of the Covid pogrom, what was that one imperative the medical fraternity should have been seized of? No matter the Covid-triggered rush for more hospital beds, isolation wards, PPEs, proscribing of social proximity or the frenetic global quest for a fail-proof defense against the virus, there is an aspect of healthcare that has for long remained on the back-burner. The professional bridge between doctors and the digital world has stayed rather weak. The ever-advancing technological marvels of communication, and the ease with which a diverse sweep of humanity can be strung together with just a click on the laptop haven’t really been an attendant theme of mass healthcare.
Doctors are a curious lot. They deal with patients based on knowledge, experiences and evidence and endorse elasticity of care rather than resorting to water-tight compartments in terms of medically treating those who need their services. It is in this context, doctors need to take a fresh look at digital healthcare in our post-Covid world. And that’s what they are doing, as is their wont, to rise to the calling of the day without a whimper.
In keeping with striking changes taking place in health care, Telehealth has assumed importance like never before. Doctors have begun to realize that in the wake of Covid-19, Telehealth will play a major role in reassuring patients that their cases, whether Covid-19 or co-morbidities, can be effectively addressed through this unique mode. There was a time when it was difficult to have doctors fall in line with this idea, but human history and its compelling consequences have made humanity rally around newer ways of building life. And so, doctors resorting to telehealth these days is no surprise.
Even the WHO now perceives Telehealth as one among essential services that would strengthen the base of the global health care system, particularly at a time when one-on-one contact is a matter of concern. There was a time when we would rush to the hospital at the drop of a hat but now, with the dare of Covid-19, both patients and doctors are willing to look at Telehealth as a viable option, and the trend is picking up fast.
Of course, a new system will call for new orientation, among doctors and patients. But one thing is clear – even if Covid-19 is dealt with effectively at some point of time, the surge in Telehealth will not be allowed to slacken.