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Telemedicine to Counter COVID-19 Effects

By Miriam Bello | Wed, 01/13/2021 - 13:39

Q: What components make a telemedicine practice safe and effective for patients and doctors?

A: The very first element needed for a telemedicine platform is an online medical record. This lies at the heart of the platform and from there, telemedicine can interact with different components. Remote consultations are also important for the doctor and the patient to interact. These should not only be limited to a mobile screen; they must include elements that allow the doctor to execute a proper diagnosis, including adequate medical equipment that can be accessed via a teleconsulting room or at on-site corporate offices. Equipment should be transparent when collecting information and needs to be connected to the patient’s online medical records.

Although this market niche is soaring due to the pandemic, there are some challenges. Certifications are needed to ensure the person on the other side of the screen has all the credentials to be trusted with a medical diagnosis. These certifications should come from hospitals. Instruction for doctors and nurses is also necessary for medical staff to perform remote consultations correctly.

Telemedicine also implies taking care of the patient remotely. Post-operative care is a clear example of telemedicine that also requires data from medical equipment and digital medical records. Entities treating these patients can make timely decisions with accurate information.

Specialized medical equipment has emerged due to the increasing interest in telemedicine. Aidicare offers such equipment, including wearables and all kinds of devices that aid doctors in taking care of their patients remotely. Our services also include experts who help doctors to identify trends in the observed data. We believe in artificial intelligence and we have worked with Facebook to create algorithms for preventive medicine. In telemedicine, the concept of day-to-day care becomes relevant because daily habits like sleeping or diet can also have meaningful influence on medical conditions. At Aidicare, we oversee all elements related to telemedicine. For instance, we offer hospitals the ability to track vital signs transparently and effectively through an app.

Q: What requirements do hospitals that you have worked with have regarding telemedicine?

A: We work with one of the largest private hospitals in Mexico City and their top goal is to make the medical process as smooth as possible for the patient. The hospital’s first requirement was the creation of schemes that would allow nurses to focus on taking care of the patient rather than filling out forms. Nurses now save time when checking vital signs and doing administrative work by centralizing different data layers through APIs. The approach was such a success that it even made it easier for the hospital when the pandemic came and insurance companies asked for information in a matter of days.

Investing in the digitalization of medical information does not only provide an instant benefit but also enables the entity to be prepared for change. Projects can be sponsored by managers or directors but if the nursing staff does not embrace them, solutions will be unsuccessful. However, nurses are actually thankful for the experience Aidicare has provided them.

This hospital has been really proactive, which has helped us to test further developments with its staff. We test beta versions of different apps, focusing on how user-friendly they are. The best application is that which can be used without training. The more intuitive, the better for everyone, particularly among medical staff. We have seen how large investments can fail due to an overcomplicated application.

One of the most common problems at 40 percent of Mexican hospitals is the misreporting of vital signs. Aidicare’s tablet uses facial recognition, QR identity verification codes, plus a visual check of the nurse. Often, human error in capturing data can be a major problem but with these mechanisms, we avoid human error. We have also introduced robots that can help isolated patients to reduce risks for both nurses and other staff members. We are working together with the National School of Nursery (ENEO) so nurses can embrace the newest technology while understanding that these new developments will not replace them.

Q: What is Aidicare’s definition of telemedicine professionalization?

A: This is a really interesting topic. Unfortunately, in Mexico the health sector has its ups and downs, with extremely good professionals and really bad ones. This also happens with telemedicine. We have been lucky to work with doctors who understand their prestige is based on the quality of their care. This forced us to go further with telemedicine rooms where the right medical equipment has to be available. This includes specialized cameras, ultrasound, electrocardiogram, thermometers, oximeters and other equipment required for different medical specialties. Patients should also adapt to telemedicine and understand this is a professional service.

Q: How can telemedicine grow in Mexico and what are the potential benefits for both patients and doctors?

A: Telemedicine offers a social benefit. We are democratizing access to high-quality medicine regardless of the location of the patient. Mexico’s internet connectivity enables this. For doctors, the immediate benefit is evident. During the pandemic and in a post-pandemic world, people will not have the same confidence to approach a hospital. Doctors have seen their appointments reduced by more than 40 percent, which has a direct economic impact. Our goal is for hospitals to embrace new solutions to support doctors while increasing the number of patients received.

Telemedicine opens borders. Hospitals that adapt it, for instance, can treat patients in different states across Mexico. The hospital we work with in Mexico City made an effort to support doctors during the pandemic and Aidicare helped to make that goal a reality.

 

Aidicare provides reliable, cost-effective solutions to health professionals and patients looking for a better quality of life and more information about their health. It also offers 24/7 support to either manage complex situations or to help with daily tasks related to proactive patient care.

Miriam Bello Miriam Bello Journalist and Industry Analyst