There has been quite a bit of discussion about how telehealth could be utilized during a public health emergency or more commonly during medical care. But only 1% of rural communities in the U.S. routinely use telemedicine and it is rarely utilized outside of emergency situations, such as natural disasters. Now, many physicians, nurses, ERs and EMS are utilizing telemedicine to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to conserve resources. In this article we’ll examine some of the ways telehealth has been utilized during this pandemic and how it could be used going forward.
Pre-COVID-19, there had been interest in telemedicine triage, which would decrease non-emergent ambulance transports. Often, transportation is a barrier to receiving healthcare, which means EMS become that transportation even when the medical problem itself is non-urgent.