A Season of Sharing & Caring: 5 Ways Telehealth Promotes the Spirit of Christmas

As Christmas Eve is upon us, and we try to ignore the commercials and ads encouraging us to buy just one more thing to add to the mountain under the tree, we here at SimpleVisit having been thinking about what Christmas really means to us. And since we are in the business of helping people who help people, it only makes sense that we feel like this time of year is really about giving to others and helping those who need it. In that spirit, we wanted to share five ways telemedicine is helping to give back – to people and communities in need, and to physicians themselves.

Volunteer Doctors for Rural Communities

In California and Massachusetts, the successful completion of pilot versions of the MAVEN project have given it the green light to start recruiting for real. The program employs volunteer retired or semi-retired doctors to help address the health professional shortage in rural areas via telemedicine. Executive director Lisa Shmerling calls it “Match.com meets the Peace Corp for volunteer physicians.” Read more about it here.

Homeless Healthcare with Mobile Health

In Seattle, WA, teams from Harborview Medical Center and the Seattle/King County Health Care for Homeless Network are using telehealth to get palliative care to severely ill homeless patients. This effort is aimed at reducing ER visits and improving the quality of life of a community that us often overlooked and shamed. Read more about it in mHealthIntelligence’s article.

Access to Care in Extremely Isolated Areas

Those who are champions of telehealth know that one of the main benefits of virtual care is the ability to give high quality medical services to people in remote places. In this article, we hear how that is being done in the world’s most remote location: the islands of Tristan da Cunha, over 1,700 miles from any other country, where there is only 1 doctor and no airstrip. Through what has been dubbed Project Tristan, physicians at the University of Pittsburgh provide 24-hour emergency care and surgery oversight via telemedicine, giving all 269 residents an astronomically higher chance at survival and longevity.

Telehealth in the Wake of Natural Disasters

It seems every year we are hearing more and more stories of hurricanes and tsunamis and earthquakes and wildfires. The death tolls themselves are staggering, but the number of lives affected are immeasurable at this point. Thankfully, telemedicine can help, at least with some of the impact. We read here about how physicians helped patients recover and get treatment during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. But you can look it up: after almost every major disaster comes a story of how remote virtual care is saving lives and helping people heal.

Helping Those Who Help Us: Physicians

We are cheerleaders of telehealth here at SimpleVisit, and can list many reasons why we are so thankful for it (see our recent Thanksgiving article for those!) But one benefit we don’t hear a lot about is for the providers themselves. The holiday time of year is one of the most stressful, and for doctors it is no exception. On top of that, the medical profession is one of the most stressful out there – traditional long hours and the need to take work home are only some of several factors that contribute to a staggering rate of physician burnout. Telehealth is helping alleviate these pressures and more, as this article details, leading to happier doctors who can give better care.

We here at SimpleVisit are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a giving and necessary industry, and look forward to being able to continue helping doctors help their patients in 2019! As you snuggle up to the fire with your cup of hot cocoa and wait for the kids to fall asleep before you eat Santa’s cookies, know that there’s one more person out there that’s wishing you a Merry Christmas.

About Simple Visit

SimpleVisit is a video service which allows patients and providers to connect over the video platform of their choice. With SimpleVisit providers are able to deliver on-demand visits to patients over any device or platform they have available to them. For more information on SimpleVisit and on how we are enabling providers to host virtual visits check out www.SimpleVisit.com

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