Without exception, everybody's life has been affected and disrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been negative effects on our social lives, significant disruptions to the economy and no doubt the delivery of medical services has dramatically changed.
Nonetheless, Covid-19 has prompted us to develop new and innovative ways to conduct healthcare delivery. It has changed our perceptions allowing further embracement of digital communication. One of the ways which we can aid productivity is telemedicine consulting. With the aid of platforms such as Zoom and Skype, communicating with patients can be done in real-time across the entire planet. Our practice has started using these facilities and no doubt will become routine practice in certain situations over time.
Obviously a major advantage is the reduced travel time and costs of implementing treatment. Some of our patients come from as far as Auckland and under the right circumstances, this would allow the reduction of at least one trip to our office. In the age of pandemics, it would also reduce the risk of contracting any airborne viruses otherwise present enroute to a healthcare setting. A significant cost reduction in travel and also opportunity cost can be made when facilitating this.
One of key philosophies in medicine is "see the patient first". Obviously this is not possible whilst consulting online. For a thorough examination, a patient needs to be seen in person to confirm a diagnosis. There are certain instances when this philosophy can be reconsidered in a non-urgent setting provided that both the provider and the patient understand the inherent problems that can arise. Often a diagnosis can be made if available radiology is present in conjunction with a thorough history and medical record. A complete overview of the situation in not entirely possible without physically examining the patient but can aid guidance of an appropriate treatment plan in some cases.
Planning for an online consultation
If you would like to investigate a virtual consultation, please contact our office. Further issues to be clarified include coverage by your medical insurance company, availability of x-rays online and techinical knowledge of virtual platforms such as Zoom and Skype.
If you proceed with a virtual consultation, please ensure that you have a private place to discuss the issues free of background noise and we will do the same. Also be aware that certain information cannot be ascertained with a virtual consultation.
We look forward to working with you.