Telemedicine can be particularly useful tool in times of crisis. In China the Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company is a Shanghai-based company that facilitates remote visits between a physician and a patient via the internet. With China currently on lockdown, and a limited supply of doctors and beds in Wuhan, service providers like Ping An Good Doctor can act as a conduit to redistribute an excess supply of doctors in other regions in response to the patient demand.
Remote visits also allow patients to stay at home, reducing the risk the disease will be further spread in a crowded ER or waiting room. This isn’t the first time telemedicine has been used during a public emergency. In 2015, after tornadoes and floods devastated Texas and Oklahoma, Teladoc, a US-based telemedicine company, offered free medical consults to residents of those states. The company offered the same free care to hurricane and fire victims who had been displaced from their homes in the last few years. Emergency situations aside, these companies are two of several telemedicine entrants rapidly improving global access to care, which has been an ongoing crisis.
Telemedicine is going to be put to the test with how well it can can connect the vast amount of growing infected patients with limited providers is a challenge which only time will tell how successful it will be.