9/30 “Virtually Perfect? Telemedicine for Covid-19” – Deirdre Kelshaw

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?

4 thoughts on “9/30 “Virtually Perfect? Telemedicine for Covid-19” – Deirdre Kelshaw

  1. You bring up a really important point about being surrounded by technology, and I think this can be extended to students taking classes as well. Growing up, if we were sick we were told to take the day off and rest. However, because of technological advancements/our ability to shift to remote learning during the pandemic, we were instead told to stay home and do what we could from there. Although this increases productivity, could the stress students (and working professionals) that we put on our bodies to try and work while we are sick, actually make us sick for longer? At what point does rest come before productivity?

  2. I read the same article and although I did not initially think of your concluding remarks, I completely agree. If medical professionals become infected with Covid-19, or for that matter, anything that causes them to feel unwell, they should not be expected to work. This goes hand-in-hand with the dangerous mentality that people have, thinking they are never working enough. In addition, I can imagine that if medical professionals are not feeling their best, they likely aren’t providing the best care they can – understandably. While I see that Telehealth is beneficial for when the patient needs to be home, I do not think the same goes for when the medical professional needs to stay home.

  3. I think you bring up a very interesting point. In regards to the pandemic, I feel like for everyone, whether it be school or work, it never escapes us. We are constantly surrounded by technology and the work we have to do, regardless of the circumstances. For medical professionals obviously, they are much more at risk to exposure because of their jobs, and I think that telemedicine is a good idea to help prevent this risk, but at a nice balance. Say they get sick, they should be exempt from working until they feel better, just as we do when we aren’t feeling well. I personally think telemedicine is a great invention because not only does it help decrease exposure rates of Covid-19 and other infections, but for those who may not have access to transportation, or don’t have the time to come into an office or hospital, these visits make whatever you need accessible for everyone. As you pointed out, there are obviously many things to still be worked out in order to provide the best and most efficient resources for everyone, but I believe that that is definitely possible.

  4. Similar to what others commented, your concluding remarks were really interesting. You bring up a good point of how it is unfair that ill medical professionals are still expected to work from home due to the presence telemedicine. In our society, overworking is valued and resting is looked down upon. People often feel guilty taking time for themselves, even if they might really need it. With telemedicine, those working in the healthcare field may feel like they never get a break and do not have a time to recharge. While telemedicine is really convenient for the unwell patient, there should not be an expectation for healthcare professionals to work when they are also unwell. Furthermore, a sick healthcare professional may not perform as well and likely won’t provide the best help possible for the patient.

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