Primary Care in the Era of COVID: Telehealth

The field of primary care is rapidly evolving in response to the needs of both patients and providers. Advances in technology are transforming how primary care clinicians interact with each other, their patients, and even how they conduct their everyday business operations. Providers are increasingly recognizing the value telehealth technologies bring to patient care, but many still have doubts when it comes to integrating them into their practice. 

This article explores some of the available options for incorporating telehealth into primary care practices, discusses some of the benefits of telehealth, discusses barriers to adoption of telehealth, and identifies future areas of focus for achieving more widespread use.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth can be defined as the delivery of health care via telecommunications technology. Telehealth has many forms, which include

(1) patient-oriented telemonitoring of patients with chronic diseases.

(2) provision of clinical advice to patients or clinicians remotely.

(3) virtual healthcare team meetings or collaboration among clinicians.

Although this article focuses primarily on the use of telehealth in PCPs’ practices, it is important to note that virtual care models are not limited to physicians. Rather, there has been increasing interest in using digital technologies for successful management of acute illnesses by non-physician provider types such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The spectrum of telehealth may vary depending on the type of clinician providing care remotely.

Why Is Telehealth important?

Primary care practitioners (PCPs) face many challenges related to providing high-quality patient care while simultaneously protecting both themselves and their practices from risk, especially in the Covid era. In response to these challenges, PCPs have been increasingly seeking opportunities to improve the quality and safety of patient care through various forms of telehealth.

Telehealth technologies extend the physical reach of primary care practitioners, allowing them to provide high-quality patient care while working remotely and at a distance from their patients. Telehealth has become an integrated practice model, alongside other existing models such as traditional face-to-face or e-visit, and includes many different technologies for example:

  • A cloud server containing data storage, processing and a video streaming service
  • An app for patients and medical staff connected to the cloud server
  • An admin web panel
  • Software for medical imaging, electronic health records, lab results and more, dependent on the patient.

The use of telehealth in primary care is rapidly evolving, with a variety of telehealth modalities now available. Understanding the full scope and requirements for adoption can be challenging for PCPs looking to incorporate telehealth into their practice.

In Summary

Telehealth is a promising solution for PCPs looking to improve the quality and safety of patient care while protecting both themselves and their practice from risk of Covid-19 infection.

Telehealth technologies augment the physical reach of primary care practitioners, allowing them to provide high-quality patient care while working remotely and at a distance from their patients.

Although telehealth is rapidly evolving in an increasingly digital post covid era, it can be challenging for PCPs to understand all available technologies and options. With the technology available today which will only improve going forward into the future, telehealth can ensure good quality patient care while protecting everyone involved from Covid-19.

Help Keep Big Easy Magazine Alive

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is challenging the way we conduct business. As small businesses suffer economic losses, they aren’t able to spend money advertising.

Please donate today to help us sustain local independent journalism and allow us to continue to offer subscription-free coverage of progressive issues.

Thank you,
Scott Ploof
Big Easy Magazine

Share this Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *