Call centers would help mild and self-managed COVID-19 patients at home, but immediate medical attention must be sought if severe signs persist.
The widespread concern caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic has led thousands of people to call medical helplines rather than enter hospitals full of other sick people. Many people seek medical helplines as their doctors are no longer seeing patients, says Carenet CEO John Erwin. Interestingly, there is an increase in other calls that are not COVID-19 related because many doctor offices have shut down. It is not just physical distress for which people seek help as the pandemic is also taking a toll on emotional health.
The pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down. The contact tracing call centers can handle the patients with their expert training and experience. The contact tracers can check with these individuals at regular intervals via email, text, or calls to see if someone has developed the symptoms of COVID-19. The centers collect the caller's required information in a short time and guide them with their advice. They can make jobs easier for health industries, ensuring better control over the pandemic. They handle financial hardship-related calls, among the most difficult for representatives to manage, the needs increased about 2.5 times in a week.
Many people had raised concerns, notably when the number of positive COVID-19 cases started spiking, about the allegedly non-functional helpline numbers. The helplines were busy for over thirty minutes and never connected in some cases. Some helpline telephone numbers which had been publicized in the official COVID-19 bulletins were temporarily out of service. A person named Dharmendra Bharadwaj claimed that he visited several hospitals but to no avail due to the shortage of beds. Notably, he claims that he called a helpline number on several occasions with no response from the other end.
However, interaction through the helplines is valuable for building trust and providing knowledge to the callers. In-person interactions are context-specific, and the situations may vary depending on different scenarios and resources within the countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a lot of potentially dangerous misinformation. For reliable advice on COVID-19 including symptoms, prevention and available treatment, please refer to the World Health Organisation or your national healthcare authority.