The COVID recovery can vary from patient to patient. Read on to learn all about the role of telehealth in recovering from the coronavirus.
In This Article:
Everything You Need to Know About the Role of Telehealth in COVID Recovery
What Is the Path of Recovery for COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a relatively new disease, so doctors are still learning a lot about how it manifests and progresses. While some diseases may be more predictable and may present more uniformly across patients, COVID-19 symptoms and recovery paths can vary significantly from patient to patient.
Most patients can manage coronavirus symptoms at home, while others require an extended hospital stay. Apart from the differences in the initial management of symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also reports that approximately one-third of symptomatic outpatients don’t return to their usual health after 2-3 weeks from the initial diagnosis.
At this point, doctors are still unsure of what an average COVID-19 recovery looks like. Some COVID-19 patients continue to struggle with symptoms long after they’ve left the hospital—including young adults without preexisting conditions.
To gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 prognosis, some doctors like to compare it to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).
What is ARDS? It is a medical condition where fluid builds up in the air sacs of the lungs.
Doctors believe that COVID-19 may be a more complex and severe version of ARDS. Just like ARDS, COVID-19 may have lingering symptoms and health challenges that require medical intervention.
Persistent and Lingering symptoms of COVID-19 may include:
- Body aches
- Shortness of breath
Cognitive deficits (Memory or concentration issues)
- Mental health issues (anxiety, depression, or PTSD)
- Blood clots
Doctors and scientists are still trying to figure out why these symptoms linger in some discharged patients and outpatients. As they learn more about the virus, though, it’s become clear that a substantial percentage of COVID-19 patients will require extended medical care even after they leave the hospital.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth or telemedicine is a revolutionary way of delivering health-related services. It takes advantage of the advances in telecommunication technologies to connect medical professionals to patients.
At its infancy, telehealth was confined to the storage and electronic delivery of a patient’s medical data to doctors. Telemedicine has come a long way since then.
Today, patients can engage in remote and real-time video consultations with medical professionals. This can happen virtually anywhere, as long as the patient has a smart device and internet access.
What Are the Advantages of Telemedicine in COVID-19 Recovery?
Telemedicine is a convenient option for COVID-19 patients that require post-COVID care. These patients can include both outpatients who were never hospitalized, and patients discharged from in-patient hospital care.
With telemedicine, these patients won’t have to leave their homes to get the post-COVID care they need. Opting to use telehealth services may help reduce the risk of further transmission.
Some of the lingering symptoms of COVID-19 are potentially life-threatening. For example, a blood clot causes serious complications. Close monitoring of these patients via telemedicine can help doctors spot and treat these issues.
Who Are Recovery Care Providers?
There are different kinds of COVID-19 recovery care providers. The set of doctors that patients will continue to work with depends on their lingering symptoms.
Here are a few examples of the different types of COVID-19 recovery care providers:
- Rehabilitation medicine doctors
- Primary care physicians
- Pulmonary rehabilitation doctors
- Speech therapists
- Physical therapists
- Social Workers
Every COVID-19 recovery plan is different. Telemedicine gives patients easier access to the unique set of recovery care providers they need.
How Do They Use Telehealth for COVID-19 Recovery?
Telemedicine isn’t just helpful for the COVID-19 recovery phase, but it can also help with the initial diagnosis phase. Once an individual begins experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, they consult a medical professional for screening.
When it comes to the recovery phase, though, doctors can use telemedicine to monitor and treat their patients’ lingering symptoms. Here are some ways doctors can use telehealth to facilitate COVID-19 recovery:
- Educate and inform patients of the tools they need to monitor their symptoms and overall health.
- Follow-up with outpatients and discharged patients.
- Check if patients have difficulty breathing by observing their chest movements during video chats.
- Observe patients doing exercises during the video call so doctors can gauge their endurance.
- Physical therapists can also guide patients through their physical conditioning exercises.
- Teach patients exercises to help them recover quicker. For example, doctors can teach patients diaphragmatic breathing or muscle-strengthening exercises through a video call.
- Conduct counseling and therapy sessions. Real-time sessions are similar to regular therapy sessions where mental health professionals can talk to their patients and equip them with coping mechanisms. With video conferencing, they don’t have to miss out on the patient’s non-verbal cues, which are important indicators of a patient’s well-being.
- Assess patients for work readiness. Some patients are eager to know when they can go back to work, and doctors can use telemedicine to get the information that will help them evaluate work readiness.
Some lingering symptoms may eventually require more treatment. So doctors can also use telemedicine to assess if patients need in-person medical care.
When it comes to the coronavirus, there’s still a lot of uncertainty. Telemedicine offers a convenient and safe way to facilitate the COVID-19 recovery process. If you’re interested in trying out telemedicine, visit the StreamMD website.
Would you consider using telehealth services? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.