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Telemedicine Is Here to Stay: Now and After COVID-19

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@BairesdevBairesDev

Malcom Ridgers is a tech expert at BairesDev specializing in the software outsourcing industry.

Although Telemedicine is nothing new, the uncertain times that COVID-19 has brought about have put it right in the spotlight. And I’m not just saying that. The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a $200M COVID-19 Telemedicine Program to help healthcare providers adopt technology solutions that make their services more accessible to patients. We are stepping into a new era for healthcare and technology. Let’s take a closer look.

How Telemedicine Works Right Now

In recent years, Telemedicine has had a slow but steady growth in the US. More and more users have become accustomed to using mobile apps and websites to visit a licensed physician through their devices. However, telemedicine services were nowhere near mainstream, either because organizations weren’t formalizing processes or because state laws restricted access to them. Coronavirus changed this overnight. 
Now, Telemedicine has become the best short-term response to COVID-19 for most healthcare organizations. While this was a forced change, it is certainly closing the social gaps and accelerating changes in healthcare services. But I would say that the greatest news about Telemedicine is that it is playing the two most needed roles during his pandemic. 
First, it is helping first-response doctors by screening for COVID-19 symptoms. South Carolina’s DHEC, for example, has recently published a resource center for people looking to access state-supported Telemedicine services. Through them, anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms can find all kinds of information they would need, including a free consultation with a doctor.
Second, telemedicine is helping all other health professionals to keep up with routine patients. This includes nutritionists, rehab therapists, psychiatrists, and any other you can think of. As a result, doctors can guide their patients in any non-emergency situations while limiting their exposure to coronavirus. And patients are making the most of it. In Florida, televisits have increased by 662% compared to last year, and they will probably continue to increase. 
As with any other technology, there have been a lot of challenges to adopting Telemedicine - especially if we take into account the fact that COVID-19 caught most institutions off guard. The extraordinary surge in demand overwhelmed lots of services in a matter of weeks. And while there is a learning curve to embracing Telemedicine, it is easy to get ahead with the help of the right technology company. 

Overcoming Challenges: Gennev

One of the greatest challenges of Telemedicine technologies in the past months has been service reliability. With so many people suddenly looking to access services via web and mobile applications, building robust and reliable platforms that eliminate downtime has become a priority. Luckily, thanks to the popularization of software development services, getting access to the talent and technology required to achieve this is easier than ever. 
Here’s where Gennev comes in. 
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly half of all U.S. counties lack a single OB-GYN provider. Part of Gennev’s mission is to address this shortage by helping women understand and manage their health in a personalized way through their online community and telemedicine services. 
That is why when Gennev — a Seattle-based telemedicine company striving to help women in their journey through menopause — started to experience issues with platform reliability, they reached out to BairesDev to quickly put together a healthy DevOps pipeline to ensure website failure was a thing of the past. Right from the start, BairesDev’s software outsourcing team made sure that staging and disaster recovery environments were correctly set in place. This ensured that separate production equivalents could be used to conduct smoke tests prior to production deployments, as well as set up an appropriate backup/failover alternative respectively. 
This freed Gennev from its prior burdens and allowed them to focus on planning additional features that could contribute to enhancing their brand. With the majority of their webpage traffic originating from mobile devices, having a responsive design that could merge existing functionality with ease of use while sustaining increased demand over time, was key to improving their overall customer experience. 
While their current presence operates in 23 states, a crucial milestone involves expanding to all 50 states by the end of 2020. This, in turn, made scalability a major aspect moving forward. For this reason, a plan was made to maintain their legacy webpage while a new one that could better address their goals was put into place. 

Let’s talk about tomorrow

Telemedicine has and continues to be a lifeline during the coronavirus pandemic. It is not only providing the industry with immediate and cost-effective solutions but it’s also revolutionizing how healthcare works for the good. In fact, a study by the American Hospital Association revealed that Telemedicine has already expanded access to healthcare and significantly reduced its costs
Clearly, there are still many challenges ahead. Most of them might be unpredictable. But I truly believe that Telemedicine is a global game-changer. In the short term, acquiring the necessary IT infrastructure and operational capability to support online services is the priority. And in the long term, healthcare models might be completely reconceptualized. The future is in our hands.
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Malcom Ridgers is a tech expert at BairesDev specializing in the software outsourcing industry.

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