One of the silver linings of the COVID pandemic is that it brought telehealth to the forefront. Most of the telehealth technology utilized to provide care during the pandemic has actually been around for decades. It is just that the medical industry has been slow to adopt it. But now that adoption has begun, telehealth’s next frontier is improving access for the disabled.
Things like telemedicine kiosks and video chat doctor visits work extremely well for the majority of Americans. They do not always work so well for the disabled. A case in point is an Orlando, FL woman recently profiled by CNN. Being deaf and legally blind, she had difficulty during the height of the pandemic visiting with her doctor via video chat.
In her particular case, the woman has to rely on sign language interpreters to communicate with medical providers. But being that her sight is quite limited, it is difficult for her to communicate even when interpreters are in her presence. Imagine the difficulty of trying to understand an interpreter on the other side of a video screen.
Litigation Shouldn’t Be Necessary
CNN’s report suggests that disability advocates are turning to litigation to force healthcare technology companies to make their solutions more accessible. Litigation should not be necessary. Making health care accessible to all is the right thing to do.
On the other hand, disabilities present challenges that are not always easy to overcome. Furthermore, there are so many potential disabilities that finding a solution for each and every one is daunting, at best. Yet the industry still needs to do everything within its power to accommodate disabled Americans. They need equal access to healthcare services just like anyone else.
Redesigning Current Solutions
Making healthcare more accessible begins with redesigning current solutions. For example, equipping a computerized telemedicine kiosks with things like screen reading software and braille input options is a good start. Making the kiosks wheelchair accessible is another straightforward accommodation.
Redesigning current solutions requires understanding how the disabled live their daily lives. How does the Orlando woman featured in the CNN report normally communicate with friends and family members? Figure that out and you have a roadmap for adapting certain types of telemedicine solutions to her needs.
Innovating New Solutions
Addressing current solutions is only the starting point. While redesigning telemedicine kiosks and consumer friendly video platforms gets the ball rolling, keeping the momentum going requires innovating new solutions as well.
Maybe there is a better way to provide remote diagnostics in the traditional kiosk paradigm. Perhaps there are better ways to facilitate remote doctor visits and app-based primary care. We are not sure if there are any better ways, but we won’t ever know if we don’t start looking for them. That’s what makes disability access the next great frontier for telehealth.
Telemedicine for Your Organization
Our industry owes it to disabled Americans to improve access to telemedicine solutions. In the meantime, the solutions that are currently available could transform the way your organization delivers healthcare services. From the standalone healthcare kiosk to the portable telemedicine unit and a complete clinical solution, we take technology to the next level for our clients. We can do it for you, too.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about our products and services. At CSI Health, telemedicine innovation is what we do best. We leverage the latest technologies with a keen understanding of healthcare delivery to offer solutions that make telemedicine work for organizations of all sizes. We look forward to showing you how telemedicine solutions with full on-board diagnostics can improve your quality of care.