On this special segment of MarketScale’s I Don’t Care with Kevin Stevenson, SOC Telemed Chief Medical Officer Jason Hallock dove into the exponential rise in telemedicine and virtual care as a result of the novel coronavirus and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic.
While telemedicine has indeed become an integral part of care during this unprecedented period, there have also been challenges surrounding this healthcare frontier. Namely, can everyone who needs to participate in virtual care access that care effectively?
“What we’re seeing is a digital divide surrounding many issues around access and accessibility,” Hallock said. “Many hospitals cannot run effective broadband connections in various hospital rooms, and rural hospitals do have problems even with broadband internet. … We’re also seeing patients have access problems at home.”
To combat these accessibility issues, Hallock said, hospitals and telecoms will need to make a real investment in the infrastructure to support remote care. Hospitals weren’t often built with broadband connectivity in mind, but there are paths forward.
Still, even for its challenges, telemedicine has made great strides this year since being called upon to help navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing intensive care doctors become more mobilized to help patients who needed it most and for patients to access the doctors they know and trust to get the care they need remotely, offering positive outcomes and peace of mind.