Why people are using Telemedicine more now.
Would you consider telemedicine if you are unwell and need to see a doctor? Let us start with what’s telemedicine. Telemedicine is referred to as remotely diagnosing and treating patients using technology.
Do you have any experience with telemedicine?
How has telemedicine worked for you? Most people haven’t tried telemedicine, but did you know that you have experienced it in some way?
For example, have you gone to see your doctor and gotten your treatment, but later, you need to call the doctor to discuss if the medication is working or if you are feeling better or worse?
Have you had to call your doctor in the middle of the night because your child’s fever is not breaking or they are throwing up anything they put down their throat? The doctor will diagnose and give you treatment. That is telemedicine. However the doctor always tells you to go to the clinic for observation the next day or later, but really, this is to make sure you pay him for the services he already rendered over your phone.
Other ways we have used telemedicine without noticing is when you’re sent for tests or scans by your doctor and they call you over the phone or more commonly these days, video call to discuss your results and the next course of action. This reduces the need to keep going back to the doctor’s waiting room and contracting something you didn’t have going in.
Guess what? That is telemedicine!
The advantages of telemedicine over in-person visits
You may think telemedicine is only used when there is a pandemic and we are not able to go see a doctor in person.
Convenient healthcare services
Telemedicine is more than even being used as the preferred option to access your health services. With online services for everything these days, people are looking for more services that they can access from the comfort of their homes or office.
Telemedicine has become increasingly popular as a primary healthcare option. As a popular telemedicine application, Sasa Doctor has many advantages, such as convenience, low medical costs, affordability, and real accredited doctors who care about your health.
Research shows that it takes about 121 minutes to see a doctor in person. Why would you need to go through traffic, have the clinic process filling forms, and wait in waiting rooms for hours only to see a doctor for 10 to 20 minutes?
You will go to the doctor’s clinic at the assigned time but you will find he is late because he has been called in for an emergency.
If you were seeing the doctor online, you can wait for him as you continue with your business without having incurred the cost to go to the clinic, organizing children’s sitters or nannies, and the cost of your time.
Personalized doctor’s relationship- focus on wellness.
These days bedside manners have gone out the window. When you visit your doctor, they are busy capturing your data while you explain the symptoms, they don’t even face you their concentration is on the screen as they fill forms for insurance or the hospital back office processes, and they quickly give you a generic treatment so that they can see as many patients as possible during their shift.
Some rogue doctors go as far as googling your symptoms as you seat there waiting for them to give you their diagnosis. Many facilities have come up with KPIs for doctors to see as many patients as possible and ensure other services are utilized by overprescribing, and overtesting so you can make the facility meet their profitability.
With telemedicine, you will have a doctor who doesn’t have to overprescribe, who will be better in listening to the patient’s symptoms so that they can correctly diagnose the first time in comparison to in-hospital doctors.
The future of medicine is in Telemedicine.
When we all started using Mpesa as a form of transaction for payment, there were a lot of hesitations. We were wondering if our money will disappear, will it be accepted as payment. We didn’t imagine we would get to a point when mpesa is the first form of transaction. I think this is the same with telemedicine.
Below are ways that telemedicine will change how we experience health care in the future. Your doctor can manage your health care problems long-term through telemedicine.
Critical and chronic management
I see a future where telemedicine is not only going to be used for primary care, but for critical care, and chronic disease management also.
These days you are diagnosed with a critical condition and the next thing you hear is that there is fundraising for treatment in India or other countries abroad.
What if we remove the travel and accommodation cost of having to go see your specialist doctor from whichever country he may be? With telemedicine, you can begin your treatment from where you are without having to travel. We leave medical traveling for only when you need surgery or other procedures that would require in-person treatment.
Also, telemedicine is definitely improving the standards of healthcare worldwide giving you access to a high-quality specialist and research which you would have otherwise never been able to access.
Integrated health gadgets
These days we have gadgets that monitor our health. We have smartphones that count our steps, count the calories we eat and spent exercising, and monitor our heart rate, sleep pattern, and even our SpO2 oxygen levels.
Imagine if this is connected to your medical records. When you see your doctor you don’t even need to do tests, all he needs to do is check your stats from your smartphone and advise you on your next health course of action. They will also give you advice on other apps to help us meditate, give us meal plans for our diet and remind us to drink water.
For example: When you go see your doctor and you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, Chances are your treatment will be to change your diet, reduce stress, exercise, and take chronic medication every day then come back after three months. That is typically the treatment plan.
With telemedicine, you can get unlimited consultations with the doctor. He will advise you do the above treatment plan, however, he will go ahead and go the extra mile by having follow-up calls to see how the treatment to advise on the compatibility of drugs if you are taking other medication or supplements.
You will be advised on sections of the app or other apps to use to help with meditation to work on your stressful days. Apps that monitor your sleep, fitness apps that give you work-out options that work for you; and periodic follow-up calls before the next appointment from your doctor’s office every week or two weeks. Meal plans to help with your diet and counseling consultations to ensure mental wellness.
Isn’t this a better treatment plan instead of going back after three months to get a higher dosage because you didn’t comply with your drugs?
Concierge medicine -(doctor house-call)
Telemedicine has to be seen as the same as a doctor’s house call, where the doctor comes to see you in your environment and can identify that your child’s allergies are being made worse by the poor ventilation or too many flowers in the home. With a video call, the doctor gets to peek at your environment.
How about triage for my child, it is a fact that 70% of ailments don’t require a triage test. This is clear because the triage depends on the hospital. Some places they check your temp, weight other places they check your temp, pressure, and oxygen levels.
However, most mothers have a palm that can check their children’s temperature more accurately than thermometers. When you call your doctor on a telemedicine video call, the doctor is well trained to investigate your symptoms virtually and diagnose you correctly and also guide you to know what to look out for in case there is a need for further tests.
The need for telemedicine to be extended to all parts of Kenya is urgent. Having a virtual clinic where people don’t have to travel from rural areas to towns to get treatment is more cost-effective and efficient in reaching more people countrywide. People in rural areas have phones, but they have poor healthcare.
We are not replacing in-person care totally but a good balance of both in-person and telemedicine creating a harmony of digital care will take us to the next level of ultimate healthcare
Using telemedicine and connecting with a person more often makes telemedicine more personalized, easier, and more convenient for both the patient and doctor.
Do you agree that telemedicine is the future of medicine? Do you use telemedicine as your primary health care? Share why (or why not!) in the comments!