The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to prevail around the world. To date, there’s no vaccine that can prevent COVID-19, and there’s no definitive effective treatment. The virus is spreading so fast that national governments have asked people to self-quarantine—and isolation and social distancing are said to be the keys to curbing the novel coronavirus disease. But can people who have coronavirus or any other condition receive healthcare at home without needing to visit the hospital? Here is where the real implementation of telemedicine is coming into play. According to New York-based physician Dr. Ari Bernstein MD, telemedicine is of vital importance, especially for countries that have low doctor-to-patient ratios.
Dr. Bernstein, a member of the medical advisory board of Fruit Street Health—a telemedicine diabetes prevention program startup, and CovidMD – a startup that is helping respond to the pandemic, believes that COVID-19 has hurled telemedicine into a new age. In his opinion, telemedicine is proving to be an asset to the medical practice, and that, a lot of patients, as well as health providers, are now able to reap its benefits more than ever.
“It’s rightly said, necessity is the mother of invention. We are now taking a firm hold on telemedicine in ways that will sustain long after this pandemic,” says Dr. Bernstein. “Having said that, looking at telemedicine from a short-term perspective would only demonstrate the prevalence of nearsightedness. Hence, even though the current situation may demand extra efforts at a time of professional and national stress, hard work will certainly pay off in the future.”
Having experienced and witnessed a range of healthcare turmoil over the years with clinical experience in internal medicine, emergency medicine, sports medicine, urgent care, primary care, pain management, hospital medicine, and health and wellness, Dr. Bernstein says that although the concept of telemedicine has existed for a few years now, it is because of the pandemic that patients have started to feel comfortable with the thought of online care, and likewise, medical professionals have gained confidence and are more at ease about conducting their duties in a remote setting.
“This might just be a tipping point in the broader adoption of telemedicine. What was not achieved for years before the COVID-19 emergency has now suddenly accelerated changes to how we deliver care,” he says. “The priority to use technology to offer personalized and affordable care has been put on the fast track, and the world is now closer to achieving what was underrated, ignored, or delayed for a long time. But what gives us a ray of hope amidst all the stress is that the telemedicine has enabled medical experts to keep a virtual eye on patients tackling chronic disease or showing signs of COVID-19.”
He adds that although the COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis, it has, in some way or the other, fueled an unexpected leap into the future of medicine. As someone who himself spends extensive time researching different subjects, Dr. Bernstein urges other medical and healthcare professionals to contribute by making breakthroughs in the industry in a way that will introduce better healthcare to everyone around the world.