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mHealth

What does the term “social distancing” really mean? Do we really want to be socially distant? The phrase and concept of "social distance" existed before 2020, however during the past year it may have morphed permanently into a verb in its current context.  The definitions listed @ dictionary.com explain the difference  and make me wonder if we have been promoting social distance with  the term “Social Distancing”.  I don’t believe we are using the term correctly.  This is not what we should be encouraging ourselves to do! We can’t even hug as much as we used to so let’s not go overboard with refraining from the social interaction we all crave right now.   Branding is everything – and unfortunately, we have a term branded to mean that we should “disengage” – be socially distant – as opposed to physically distant.

I think we all know by now that the pandemic has led to a dramatic surge in the use of telehealth. In Arizona, that was partly thanks to several executive orders our governor signed in March and April of 2020 expanding telehealth coverage and flexibilities for the duration of the public health emergency. (Scroll to Executive Orders 2020-07, 2020-15, and 2020-29.)

Telemedicine and the technologies that provide the service delivery have swiftly become the essential, everyday apparatus keeping the US healthcare system afloat in 2020. Patients have adapted well to the rapid switch to teleconferencing appointments and assessments with their general practitioner.

HIPAA compliance is difficult to achieve under normal circumstances but during a global pandemic, healthcare institutions have faced an uphill struggle. As hospitals, practices, and clinics closed, a seismic shift towards telemedicine was embarked upon. For many healthcare entities, this was something completely new, for others it was a simple change of routine.

A storm surge and a tsunami are vastly different entities. A storm surge is an oceanic phenomenon resulting from the piling up of surface water from the sustained pressure of wind in a storm.  Damage, in human terms, is typically limited to structures along the coastline. A tsunami is a very different phenomenon.  Often caused by a natural disaster such as an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption, the tsunami carries enormous energy in the form of a sheet of water spanning the ocean’s surface down to its floor.  Its devastation can disrupt the fabric of society deep inland.

What is Telemedicine?

In short, telemedicine is the remote treatment or consultation provided by a medical professional via electronic means such as phone call, video conference or online chat. Such communication is carried out in real time when a patient needs medical advice that doesn’t require physical presence of a patient at the doctor’s office.

The goal of telehealth is to make treatment more convenient and more cost-efficient. What is more, it is a lifesaver for patients with chronic diseases like diabetes or high blood pressure who aren’t in need of emergency treatment, but need regular medical advice on lifestyle regime, or medicine dosage.

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