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The Importance of Virtual Care During a Pandemic

Virtual care isn’t new, but it’s carving out a niche in this time of a pandemic. In fact, WeForum hails it as a game-changer as the world navigates this health crisis. That’s because hospitals are the battlegrounds of this pandemic, and have become risky places both for healthcare workers and patients. Add to the varying lockdown and shelter-in-place measures implemented by governments, and the result is a need for alternative modalities to dispense unimpeded medical care (pandemic-related or not) that doesn’t put anyone at risk or require travel. Virtual care is a viable modality in that regard, which is why its popularity has risen meteorically these past few months.

However, this isn’t just a trend — telemedicine is something that’s bound to stay the course for the foreseeable future in light of shelter-at-home recommendations across the country, as well as the need to obviate physical interaction between healthcare professionals and patients for safety reasons. This, of course, is something Tremendoc has been providing since 2017, when we first began offering our doctor-on-demand services through chat or video calls.

Further underscoring the need for virtual care during this pandemic is the increasing number of people in Nigeria who are now working from home (WFH). Like virtual care, remote work isn’t new, but its meteoric rise in this time of crisis has magnified not only its benefits (e.g., increased productivity, improved employee morale), but also its drawbacks, the most notable of which concerns people’s health. A Tech Times article on the cons of WFH notes how remote work takes “a shocking toll” on health, as it can increase susceptibility to backaches, insomnia, and, most seriously, burnout. This is why writer James Gonzales emphasizes the importance of not overdoing it when it comes to remote working, as employees have the tendency to overwork given how easily tasks can be done in the moment. Such is the recipe for burnout, which often leads to complications like high blood pressure and even depression — two conditions that certainly require medical attention.

Incidentally, Daily Nation reports that private companies have directed staff to work from home these past few months of lockdown. More are possibly on the way as many professionals are now demanding a complete shift to remote work, both for safety reasons and the convenience it offers. Unfortunately, a portion of that working-from-home population is bound to have some health concerns at one point or another during this pandemic, whether it be anxiety, insomnia, a cardiovascular disease, or — knock on wood — something more serious. Fortunately, the advent of technology mitigates the risk of having to go to a hospital or clinic during such a time, as telemedicine lets those with ailing concerns get checked virtually. The Tremendoc App will prove useful in this regard, as it can connect patients to doctors, dispense health tips and diet plans, and allow for constant health monitoring.

Finally, virtual care is also a crucial component in terms of easing the burden off of our healthcare systems. In a recent study, researcher Bokolo Anthony Jr notes that hospitals are getting overloaded (here and in other countries) due to this pandemic, with healthcare professionals dealing with a host of challenges, particularly high risks of contracting a potentially fatal virus. Virtual care reduces some of that strain, as it replaces some processes with digital technology, like video consultations and remote monitoring of health metrics (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate, etc.). More importantly, it also helps minimize doctors’ and nurses’ exposure to both the virus and other communicable illnesses, hence keeping them safe and able to do their jobs well.

Written by Kyla Langstaff for tremendoc.com

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