There is a saying that necessity is the mother of creation/invention and that it is in hard times that greatest innovations come to fore or the ones little appreciated gain recognition and adoption.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought to the limelight the importance of non-physical contact health services delivery especially in Africa where the notion of E-Health has been shunned by many saying that practicing medicine without being touched by physician is not medicine.
Talking about E-health, Jayesh Saini said that this was an idea whose time for embrace had come and for acceptability COVID-19 happened. He said that E-health has provided very good measures to help mitigate the spread of the corona virus while assisting those affected or infected by the same. Jayesh pointed out that the pandemic has affected not just the healthcare sector but other sectors and has affected service delivery to people with other ailments, bringing great fear that is deterring people from seeking services they may need.
E-health is not a new thing because it is common in the developed countries but in this part of the world, with traditional believes in physical engagement with medical fraternity in a designated place, this has not been easy to adopt. Jayesh said that E-health, with its various facets is warranting spread of corona virus is curbed while at the same time other health conditions are taken care of at the comfort of homes or offices. It provides solutions that ensure safety of patients and caregivers, allowing for social distancing while getting the required medical attention. Having doctors online allows for telemedicine to be as interactive as is possible through audio or video call consultations. Though there is no physical contact with the patient, the doctor makes clinical assessment through various question models to the patient or the person they are with if it is a minor or an assistant of the unwell person. In case of video medicine, the patient can show by touching where the problem is. Once the diagnosis is made the person is either given an online prescription for medication or some diagnostics. In both cases, there is also the option of dialling a pharmacy to deliver the medication and a laboratory to come and pick specimens as requested. According to Jayesh, this kind of ICT interventions is the medicine of today and definitely will be for the future as people become busier and require more time for themselves and technology advances. This means that from the palm of your hand using your phone you can access healthcare services without leaving the comfort of your home or office.
Many of the E-health solutions are now adopted as legitimate service delivery methods and are accepted by many insurance firms. Especially important for insurers are those E-health options that have features that help identify their clients to ensure there is no fraud through activities such as identity theft. Such providers have various software to ensure either there is recognition through facial recognition that helps reduce use of biometric machines that could be spreaders of the virus or other harmful pathogens. Many individuals have benefitted by using the online symptom checker which is a list of not more than ten simple questions that would let one know their Preliminary COVID-19 Status and will help determine whether they are at risk of having the virus. When genuinely answered, the results give directions on what the person needs to do; whether to seek medical attention or not. The individual can access one of the online doctors for further counselling and assessment and for advice on what to do.
E-health has especially proofed to be very timely and effective for those under home-based care whether with COVID-19 or with other conditions especially chronic conditions and all the venerable.