Hospital-acquired infection, also known as nosocomial infection has been a major concern worldwide, even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic situation. The risk of acquiring infection increases with the fact that the disease-causing virus/fungi are present everywhere including the healthcare premises, institutes, or clinics. Telemedicine platforms in the healthcare sector are thus introduced as a digital solution to minimize the incidences of acquiring an infection during a visit to healthcare centers, and yet get access to the right set of specialized healthcare from the comfort of their home.
According to a recent study conducted in a tertiary care center that analyzed the presence of fungus/bacteria causing an infection on healthcare workers’ hands, clothes, and medical devices used during infected patient care, around 33% of healthcare workers showed fungal carriage. A total of 28% of healthcare workers’ aprons and scrubs were discovered to be contaminated, with the majority of molds belonging to the Aspergillus species, whereas, around 5% of HCW’s hands were found to be contaminated and were carriers of Candida species.
Fungi/bacteria/viruses can naturally be found on human skin as well as on the hands of healthcare professionals and can enter the body through wounds and cuts. While fungi have no effect on a healthy individual, a person with a weaker immune system can become seriously infected when exposed to disease-causing organisms.
To avoid the spread of infection in hospitals, the World Health Organization recommends cleaning and disinfection of equipment used by numerous patients (tracheal tubes, ventilators), as well as the ventilation system. Even though the healthcare workers (HWC) in premises follow active surveillance towards hand hygiene and adequate sterilization of medical instruments and premises, the risk of acquiring fungal infection by immune-compromised patients remains high, keeping their efforts in vain.
Today, telemedicine platforms are emerging as an effective bridge between the increase in healthcare demands and the requirement of avoiding the incidences of acquiring an infection while visiting a doctor’s clinic for consultation or follow-up during convalescing period post- hospitalization.
Maximize access to specialized care Improve collaboration between healthcare professionals Improve efficiencies of medical activities Fine-tune the patient’s care pathway Patients and healthcare seekers can use telemedicine platforms as a means of avoiding the incidences of acquiring infection:
during traveling to doctor’s clinic/healthcare centers
from hospitalization for acute infections requiring professional observation
visiting doctor’s clinic for post-hospitalization follow-up
Telemedicine platforms are providing doctor and healthcare professionals an easy access platform to provide:
Provide better control over infectious illness: It helps in prescreening patients for possible infectious diseases. People who are chronically ill, pregnant, old, or
immunocompromised benefit from less exposure to other people’s germs.
Better Assessment: Specialized practitioners may benefit from telemedicine because they can see you in your own home. Allergists, for example, may be able to spot triggers in your environment that cause allergies. Neurologists, physical therapists, and occupational therapists can examine your abilities to maneuver and care for yourself at home. Telemedicine can also be used for mental health evaluations and counseling.
Primary Care and Chronic Condition Management: Primary care practitioners, such as those who specialize in family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics, should be seen on a regular basis to ensure your family’s health. It’s simple to communicate with a doctor or nurse practitioner via telemedicine. Some systems are set up such that new patients can be scheduled with the next practitioner available, which can save time.
Better connection with family: Telemedicine can loop both you as well as your family member in the virtual visit, enabling doctors to understand the patient’s condition as well as his family environment better.
Currently, when the world is facing one of the biggest pandemic Covid-19 conditions in history, telemedicine and teleconsultation platforms have boomed as a solution to strengthen the healthcare ecosystem worldwide. The situation of multiple lockdowns, fear of acquiring Covid- 19 infection, and limited access to healthcare facilities, triggered the effective use of already existing services like online doctor consultation, lab test at-home, online healthcare sessions, medicine/prescription delivery at-home, etc., being offered by some of the big players of healthcare industry like Healwell24, Apollo, Tata health.