Damian Knowles

How doctors can benefit from COVID19

07.04.20 01:54 PM Comment(s)

Telemedicine is now accessible to everyone

Telemedicine is now accessible to everyone

The current COVID19 pandemic has forced businesses to adapt to more innovative ways of providing products and services.  Even clinics and health practitioners are not exempt.  Telemedicine is simply a way that doctors leverage technology so that we can still have access to healthcare services despite the inconvenience of having of the temporary restriction of movement and social distancing.

Let's look at the math.  If a doctor works an 8-hour day he would be able to offer 8-1 hour slots | 16-30 minute slots | 32-15 minute slots provided he took no lunch break.  If he/she were to double book. e.g. "Excuse me ma'am I will be right back."  doctor says this too you while seeing another patient next door. A doctor may even accommodate up to 35 patients daily on a perfect day.

Fast forward to the current lockdown and let's factor in advanced hypochondria due to the similarities of cold and flu symptoms and allergies related to pollen there is an increased demand for patients wanting to see their primary care practitioner. 

With the availability of telemedicine a doctor can now accommodate up to twice as many patients during the same timeframe and even work later on in the evening at their own discretion.

Admittedly, telemedicine may not provide the right fit for you neither your doctor?  Here are a few frequently asked questions (FAQ's).

1. What is Telemedicine

Telemedicine is the use of video, chat, voice and text transmission for communication to exchange medical information between you, your doctor and a medical specialist if necessary or pharmacy . Telemedicine services are accessed primarily through an appointment just as a routine visit would be.  The visit or face to face interaction utilizes secure and interactive online equipment to ensure that your conversations are safe and that any data exchange is secure. You will be able to speak in real-time with your healthcare provider during your telemedicine appointment.

2. Is Telemedicine safe or even legal?

Yes, telemedicine sessions are intended to be safe and secure because the data is encrypted following the same privacy HIPAA guidelines as your medical files are required to be handled. Your telemedicine appointments should maintain the same level of confidentiality as a routine visit should be.  This means that you neither your doctor should expect to meet while driving, at a coffee shop or multitasking.  Additionally, telemedicine appointments are not recorded without first receiving your consent.

3. Is it mandatory that I consent to its' use?

Absolutely not.  As with any other treatment or service you reserve the right to deny it's service or use.  Please bear in mind that during this current pandemic it is vital that we sincerely appreciate the value and level of dedication that our healthcare providers have undertaken. (See Article) Doctor's and nurses are on the front line of the COVID19 battle and some have already died due to the exposure.  Telemedicine offers healthcare providers an efficient and safe way to see a greater number of patients in a controlled environment.  If you have concerns around the technology maybe you should discuss them with your doctor so that he may satisfy your need for clarification and maybe even provide an alternative.  For women seeing a gynecologist having a video conference may be uncomfortable to you or even your spouse. 

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance. A physician in one location uses a telecommunications infrastructure to deliver care to a patient at a distant site.

What is telehealth?
Telehealth refers broadly to electronic and telecommunications technologies and services used to provide care and services at-a-distance.

What’s the difference?
Telehealth is different from telemedicine in that it refers to a broader scope of remote health care services than telemedicine. Telemedicine refers specifically to remote clinical services, while telehealth can refer to remote non-clinical services.

What is the AAFP’s position on telemedicine?
The American Academy of Family Physicians supports expanded use of telemedicine as an appropriate and efficient means of improving health, when conducted within the context of appropriate standards of care.

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