Picture: HelenJank/Pixabay

The COVID-19 pandemic that gripped the world in early 2020 has changed the way we do many things. If we weren’t proficient in handwashing before, then we undoubtedly are now. Most of us also have mask-wearing down to a fine art. 

Though, perhaps one of the most significant changes has been in the healthcare sector, particularly in how our healthcare is now delivered. Whether you’re a patient or healthcare provider, the changes below are bound to have stood out to you. 

Easy Online Ordering

While medical company representatives will still be visiting healthcare facilities, purchasing medical supplies online has certainly been encouraged in recent months. Rather than having to negotiate in person, you can head online and buy the supplies you need. 

If you have any queries or concerns, a simple phone conversation or video conference call has been the best option to have those concerns met. Otherwise, you simply wait until the supplies arrive via a contactless delivery system. 

Telemedicine

In a pre-COVID-19 world, anyone with an ailment would make an appointment with their doctor and see them in person. No one questioned that method of care, and it was standard practice across the globe. 

However, with a contagious virus in our midst, medical professionals are taking all precautions. When you seek out an appointment, the receptionist or nurse must make a judgment call about whether an in-person meeting is necessary. 

If physical proximity is not required, telemedicine may be a recommendation. This involves having an appointment over the phone or via a video conference with your doctor. You still receive the same level of care, but you’re able to receive advice and even prescriptions without leaving the comfort of your home. 

Telehealth

Telehealth is similar to telemedicine, but it’s a far-reaching service with a broader scope than clinical services. For example, if visiting medical professionals would put nursing home patients at risk by seeing them in person, telehealth may be offered. 

Doctors can see a patient’s stats and medical history, and with the right technology, can even monitor their vitals remotely. Patients receive a high level of care, but it’s the in-home nurses and carers that follow the remote doctor’s instructions. 

Telehealth is also a barrierless form of healthcare. Medical professionals can treat patients outside of their state and may even offer flexible pricing. 

Personal Protective Equipment and COVID-19 Measures

Healthcare professionals aren’t taking any chances when it comes to their most vulnerable patients. If you require an in-person appointment, it may look a lot different than it used to. 

Depending on your ailment, your nurse or doctor may be dressed in PPE, consisting of a mask, face shield, and protective suits. The waiting area seats may also be spaced apart, and there are often no magazines to keep you entertained while you wait. 

You may also notice someone regularly wiping down high-touch surfaces and requesting social distancing as you wait in line to make a payment or ask a question. 

With help from the CDC, medical professionals have also become skilled in identifying potential COVID-19 patients. This can involve the use of self-assessment tools and triage systems. They may even ask questions on the phone to prevent potentially infected people from visiting the medical centre without measures in place to protect those around them.   

Though the pandemic has changed the way healthcare is delivered, that doesn’t mean patients miss out on a high level of care. Instead, we can all benefit from easy ordering processes, appointments from our homes, and safe medical facility environments with measures in place to protect patients and staff.