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Opportunities for Telehealth Amid Coronavirus

Opportunities for Telehealth Amid Coronavirus
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Published on March 31, 2020

Stay home, if you can. More patients are hearing this message from doctors who they might normally see in-person. The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic is sweeping across the globe at such a pace that patients recovering from recent surgeries, or undergoing cancer therapies, may be healthier in the long run communicating from a safe distance. For patients with access to apps, phones and the Internet, this is very promising. It’s also beneficial for healthcare workers who are at high risk for getting COVID-19. Just the idea of not sitting in a waiting room may bring some relief during uncertain times.

Drive-Through COVID-19 Testing

Verily, a life sciences company, offers drive-through testing for residents in certain areas of California. Working with the California Department of Public Health, this sister company of Google quickly developed a system for pre-screening, testing and turning tests around with results so doctors can make decisions about next steps for patients.

Thus far, they have screened 20,000 residents, and as more tests come in so do opportunities for testing people from the comfort of their cars. Verily, which pre-screens potential patients for the virus with an online survey, sends people to San Mateo and Santa Clara counties, which will expand to Riverside and Sacramento counties this week and then scale from there. Automation is key, so patients create an online account and then schedule their own time for testing, without the need for a volunteer on the phone. The rest of the more than 1,000 volunteers are out working in the field.

What’s more, Verily has posted information online to help other communities create their own drive-through testing centers, according to Carolyn Wang, Verily’s Head of Communications. They’ve even created a downloadable handbook to help other communities get up and running quickly and efficiently. View their Community Based Testing Guide

“There hasn’t been a playbook for this. We created the lessons learned so that other community-based testing centers can have and share this information,” Carolyn said.

You Can See the Doctor Now, via Webcam

Although it may seem a bit impersonal at first, having a clinic visit via webcam is a great way to stay away while getting the information and updates that you need from your medical expert. Digital technologies have the potential to transform cancer care by pairing the latest innovations in medical research with remote monitors and digital therapeutics to ensure that patients can get the same quality care they had when in-person, only from the comfort and safety of their home. 

Medical care delivery is moving fast. Visiting a doctor’s office or clinic by phone or by car may be the wave of the future, and for the benefit of everyone on the medical team, and most of all—patients. 

~Lauren Evoy Davis 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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