COVID-19, the global pandemic’s emergence has forced the hand of healthcare facilities to adopt tele health services. Accessing medical services is difficult for many, both in first world countries and developing economies during this pandemic period. Therefore, using technology in healthcare services remains to be the best solution, even though developing countries face issues trying to provide such services.
Developed countries are capable of providing good healthcare options using several technologies and methods to their citizens, but cost and quality is still a problem at large. Underdeveloped nations are further behind in providing medical services, let alone providing premium and affordable options.
When telemedicine came to the picture, it surfaced as a perfect solution to the shortcomings in the health sector for emerging nations. Nevertheless, factors such as affordability, availability and geographical positions have made uptake of telehealth services redundant.
A survey, done by WHO, shows that four out of five developing countries use mHealth to provide critical medical attention to its citizens. 89% of the population in Africa get to enjoy such services since they own mobile phones. However, electricity inaccessibility renders such services useless: medical information can not be shared when mobile phones have no power.
Barriers to Telehealth Services Adoption
The infrastructure of economically developing countries is a let down in advocating the use of technology in healthcare. First world countries like China have electricity, communication, and roads covering most parts of their land. It certainly eases the provision of both physical and distant medical care.
Most of the occupants residing in marginalized countries are said to be needy. Insufficient funds to buy computers or smartphones make it laborious if not impossible for inhabitants of such areas to use telecare. Lack of internet adds more misery for those who have struggled to purchase the two. Electricity is also scarce in such regions, so the operation of any technology is almost ruled out completely.
How Developing Countries can Overcome the Hurdles
Collaborating With People from Industrialized Countries
Developed economies collaborating with underdeveloped ones will boost the uptake of telehealth services. Non-profitable organizations such as USAID have donors who donate money and facilities that if taken to third world countries should help them improve their telecare capabilities.
People from first world countries have started foundations that aid poverty-stricken people who can’t access treatment services. They fund hospitals and local health programs in buying machines specifically to enable medical services on the go, like mobile clinics with medical equipment. This equipment also assists patients to share medical information with specialists, regardless of where the doctors are.
Evaluation of Resources and Planning By Local Health Stakeholders
Health experts within places that are gradually developing play a crucial role in how healthcare gets handled. Top health advisers must notice which area has low access to health services. In rural areas with little to no internet, they should advocate for creation and development of networking services.
An efficient communication system is essential when it comes to the provision of telehealth services. Doctors who live in cities and industrialized areas can provide diagnosis and prescriptions to people in remote areas if the internet is available.
Health officials should also capitalize on the high number of people owning mobile phones in secluded areas. Using the network companies available countrywide, sending healthcare options to people in such areas through text messages gets easier.
Raising Awareness on e-healthcare
Residents of marginalized areas are in the dark when it comes to information about virtual check-ins and appointments with doctors. The lack of knowledge in such services is a good reason why not many use them.
By advertising, announcing and setting up centres to give people information, more people will consider the use of virtual medical services. In areas where hospitals are overcrowded and understaffed, the population is bound to seek comfort in consulting a doctor via mobile phone.
Doctors in rural areas should play a part in creating knowledge. They should be able to inform patients of teleconsultations during physical patient examinations. It significantly reduces the struggle people go through to walk miles to find a hospital.
Local Insurance Companies Adding Telehealth as a Policy
Poverty and poor infrastructure lead to high costs in access and maintenance of technology used in medical activities. Insurance institutions pay for various medical activities ignoring the quality of healthcare available. Isolated areas do not have the facilities that urbanized regions have for treatment.
If insurance companies add telehealth services to their policies, many doctors and specialists will expand their reach to exurban areas. It will ignite the uprising of the number of people who will use the services. Since the cost to pay the doctors and to buy computers is covered, there is no reason why any insured patient shouldn’t consider telecare.