Telemedicine's Critical Role in the COVID-19 Crisis
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Jasmine Lee Jasmine Lee
Telemedicine's Critical Role in the COVID-19 Crisis
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Imagine you were feeling ill and could chat with your primary care doctor about your symptoms-without having to get up from your couch, without compromising the ongoing social distancing and self-quarantine mandates. This isn't a newfangled piece of technology that may exist in the future, years from now. This currently exists-has existed in various forms for decades-and it's called "telemedicine."

On March 4, the United States Senate voted for an $8.3 billion emergency spending package that would fund the U.S. response and efforts to coronavirus. The Verge reported that the bill gives the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) "the power to suspend rules that restrict their access to remote care, or telehealth." Outside of the U.S., HIMSS reports that telehealth ranks as one of the top eHealth trends in Europe, according to the European Annual eHealth Survey 2019. MarketWatch reported in May 2019 that the Asia Pacific telemedicine market would grow at an annual rate of 24% from 2019 to 2025.

Telemedicine and telehealth have expanded in use across the health care spectrum, not just in hospitals and medical practices, but also by EMTs, fire and rescue crews, and the military-even before the current global pandemic. However, with rising safety and health concerns because of the rapid spread of coronavirus, more health systems are relying on telemedicine to lessen the strain on their human and physical resources, continue to provide service to all patients, and minimize unnecessary exposure to others.

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