How can we make online doctor consultations work for patients during COVID-19?

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In the old days, consultations with health care professionals, namely doctors, took place in offices, clinics, and, in some cases, in the patient’s home. Now, when people are required to consult a health care professional regarding a new episode of illness they can seek professional views using the Internet. The type of consultation depends on the situation. Patients are able to make inquiries about an existing condition, discuss a test result, or seek advice on traveling abroad.

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Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/computer-desk-laptop-stethoscope-48604/ 

In-person doctor visits have decreased considerably since the outbreak of COVID-19. So as to lessen the risk of transmitting the deadly new virus to patients or fellow colleagues, health care professionals are converting in-person visits to telemedicine visits. Health-related services and information are delivered via telecommunication technologies such as telephone, emails and instant messaging. Digital consultations can occur anywhere and the data is completely safe and secure. 

Online doctor consultations are the only alternatives to traditional clinical care  

During the health care crisis, clinics have temporarily paused services, meaning that people cannot go to the doctor because they are forced to prioritize urgent and emergency visits. Online doctor consultations have emerged as viable alternatives to traditional clinical care. Telemedicine ensures access to clinical care, enhances the patient experience, and, most importantly, improves health outcomes. People like the thought of seeing their doctor on a laptop or smartphone. 

If until now telemedicine had been used in limited ways, it is becoming the mainstream. The advantages of virtual consultations include but are not limited to:

  • Eliminating location boundaries
  • Immediate medical attention
  • Accessible any time of the day and night 

The need for protection has brought about significant change in the way that regular individuals interact with the healthcare system. Health care professionals have been able to offer care to countless numbers of patients whilst respecting social distancing measures, but there are limitations when it comes down to virtual consultations, regrettably. As online doctor consultations will become the norm, it is of paramount importance to overcome inherent challenges.

What kinds of problems do doctors come across when providing online consultations?  

There is nothing that health care professionals cannot solve these days. Important advances in medical science allow them to get remarkable insights into how the body works, which translates into better tests and treatments. Doctors can help with all kinds of issues, ranging from severe headaches to allergies. Technology-supported medical consulting used to be regarded as a last resort in terms of delivering health care services. The coronavirus pandemic has forced doctors and patients to turn to telemedicine. It is highly unlikely that consultations will return to face-to-face appointments any time soon. 

Physicians registered with the medical cannabis program, for instance, are able to certify new patients and examine existing ones by conducting remote consultations over the telephone or video to determine if they need CBD hemp flower for troubling symptoms. The experts at Pure Hemp Farms draw attention to the fact that medical cannabis dispensaries are essential during these tough times as patients require support for illnesses such as epilepsy, cancer, pain, etc. It does not come as a surprise that they are stocking up and buying wholesale hemp flower from licensed industrial handlers. Getting back on topic, people have been very receptive to the new ways of contacting primary care practitioners. Nevertheless, it cannot be expected that all of them understand these important changes. 

While web-based consultations offer non-negligible advantages to patients who are spared the cost and inconvenience of travel, they bring about significant challenges. To be more precise, there are challenges as far as the quality and outcome of the digital experience is concerned. The way clinical care is being delivered has changed all of a sudden, so doctors have not had sufficient time to prepare. It is necessary to intervene ahead of time to ensure the success of virtual health care. There is a chance to revolutionize things, one that we should undoubtedly take advantage of.  

A few recommendations for online doctor consultations 

To meet the current challenges facing the health care system, it is paramount to implement new models of clinical service delivery. Doctors have resorted to telemedicine, which reduces the need for staff and minimizes patient exposure to sickness. The way in which appointments are conducted should be carefully revised. In what follows, we will present some suggestions on how to make remote consultations work for all patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Manage appointment times effectively and efficiently 

Managing health appointments begins with scheduling and timing. It is necessary to possess clear contact information, which is not always easy to find. Patients may have neglected to tell their treating physicians their email address. Therefore, the clinical care provider has to fill in the gaps in the health record. Health care professionals can manage which times are available for patients with ease. People may have a hard time understanding appointment times, though. This is why doctors need to be crystal clear about how long the appointment will take and what tools will be used for diagnostic purposes. 

Select the right consultation tool 

Health care professionals need to obtain clinically-relevant information. Video consultations are helpful, even if they do not let the doctor read the patient’s body language, because it is possible to identify signs of illness. They cannot use the same senses as they do during in-person consultations, yet the doctor can get a lot of info by simply observing the patient in their environment. If the person gets out of breath, the clinical care provider will conclude that they might have asthma or COPD. Before ending the conversation, treatment options are discussed in detail. 

Rethinking your approach to clinical care 

Regardless of how experienced the health care professional is, they might not be able to solve each and every case. Doctors have been trained to deal with patients face-to-face and online consultations require new skills and knowledge. Clinical care providers need to comprehend that times have changed and they need to adapt their approaches to the current situation. This implies letting go of traditional approaches to health care and adapting to the new times. It is never late to acquire new skills. Doctors need lifelong learning to survive. Setting aside the difficulties, digital consultations have great potential and they result in benefits for patients.