In “Virtually Perfect? Telemedicine for Covid-19,” Judd E. Hollander and Brendan G. Carr argue that telemedicine provides an abundance of benefits to both patients and health professionals, and is increasingly emerging in the medical field since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hollander and Carr make these points by discussing the numerous benefits that result from telemedicine and providing examples of various hospitals that are taking advantage of telemedicine services. More specifically, more than 50 U.S. health systems already have such telemedicine programs. To name a few: Jefferson Health, Mount Sinai, Kaiser Permanente, Cleveland Clinic, and Providence all leverage telemedicine technology to allow clinicians to see patients who are at home.
With the beginning and ongoing movement of the Covid-19 pandemic, both patients and health professionals are forced to quarantine in order to prevent spreading infection. In this way, those who may be infected should avoid coming to in-person appointments if possible so that other patients and professionals do not come in close contact. Not only do telemedicine services protect patients, clinicians, and the community from exposure, but these services are available 24/7 as well, using smartphones or webcam-enabled computers. This benefits both the patient and clinician, in case either or both are sick– the health professional can conduct their work virtually from home if needed and vice versa. Overall, community paramedicine or mobile integrated health care programs allow patients to be treated in their homes, or allow professionals to work from home, with higher level medical support provided virtually.
While I believe this is an extremely important and necessary step in the medical field, I cannot help but feel empathy for medical professionals. If a medical professional becomes infected and needs to stay home to quarantine, are they really expected to keep working? With rising Covid cases, I suppose we need all the help we can get. However, I feel as if it’s slightly unfair to our medical professionals. While telemedicine provides so many benefits to society, does it enforce the unhealthy mentality of non-stop work with no ability for breaks? Is technology to blame for the “grind” and “no-break” attitudes? Are we all now just constantly surrounded by our work because of these technological advancements?