Antimicrobial Resistance and How Telehealth Can Provide Solutions to the Looming Problem
Using Telemedicine Equipment to Stop the Spread of Antimicrobial Resistance
The global health community is becoming increasingly concerned with what’s known as antimicrobial resistance, which refers to the spread of bacteria and other microorganisms that can stop antimicrobials from taking effect. This means many common forms of treatment such as antibiotics and antivirals will be essentially useless against the spread of disease. Healthcare providers are looking for ways to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance, so traditional treatment methods will still be effective.
According to the Center for Disease Control, antimicrobial resistance is one of the biggest health problems of our time with at least 2 million people getting an antibiotic-resistant infection in the U.S. every year and 23,000 deaths.
Telehealth and other digital tools can help stymie the spread of antimicrobial resistance by educating healthcare providers on how to best stop the spread of infection and isolating patients that could put others at risk. Learn more about how the healthcare community is using telemedicine tools as a solution to this looming problem.
How Telehealth Can Help Prevent Antimicrobial Resistance
Antimicrobial resistance is still a relatively new phenomenon in the healthcare industry, and many providers simply lack access to important information regarding this issue. But new digital tools are helping providers get access to the information they need to curb the problem.
Isolating Infectious Patients
One of the ways healthcare providers are using telehealth technology to stop the spread of antimicrobial resistance is to isolate infected patients. With remote patient monitoring tools and real-time communication tools like live video and audio, doctors can continue to treat infected patients without bringing them into the facility, which might lead to the spread of infection.
If a doctor takes on a patient with an antimicrobial infection, they can quickly change their approach to keep the patient at home. They might supply the patient with certain digital tools that can help them monitor their condition as it changes over time. This significantly reduces the risk of infection in the workplace as opposed to keeping infectious patients in the same room or investing in costly quarantine treatment centers, which tend to be rare across certain parts of the country.
Creating Remote Antimicrobial Teams
With many healthcare providers lacking information on antimicrobial resistance, many providers may not have the experience they need to effectively care for patients with an antibiotic-resistant infection. This issue is having a negative effect on the Veterans Administration, the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
A recent study shows that 40% of all Veterans Association Medical Centers across the country do not have a dedicated full-time infectious disease (ID) physician on staff. These treatment centers and those in a similar position might put other patients at risk if they don’t have the staff to properly care for and isolate these patients.
Telehealth can help these facilities reduce their risk by giving them the tools they need to correspond with ID physicians and antimicrobial resistance experts across the country. A recent pilot telehealth project successfully created two remote antimicrobial programs at two rural VA medical centers in the United States. Staff members were able to correspond with experts as they treat their patients in real-time. Providers regularly interfaced with ID experts using live video and audio to discuss their current patients and learn about the latest antimicrobial resistance techniques.
Antimicrobial resistance continues to be a major concern in the U.S. and across the globe. Many providers are looking for new ways to treat this ongoing issue. As new treatment methods become available, health centers across the country can use telemedicine equipment to better prepare for this looming problem. Doctors can even treat infectious patients from afar to prevent the spread of infection. Learn more about the benefits of telehealth and request a free demo at InTouch Health today.