Telemedicine From the Perspective of Doctors and Data Protection
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In this article, I wanted to give a very practical overview of how telemedicine can help patients. In this case, we wanted to hear it directly from our doctors. Telemedicine would not be possible without doctors, and their support and embracement of telemedicine is key. I will summarize how telemedicine can help patients in different medical specialties, according to our doctors.
MeetingDoctors recently launched a survey among all our medical practitioners to understand the use cases for telemedicine according to doctors. We surveyed doctors from well-known universities and hospitals in Mexico, such as Universidad La Salle, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Universidad Anahuac, Hospital Angeles del pedregal, Instituto Nacional de Pediatría, Colegio Mexicano de Nutrición Clínica y Terapia Nutricional A.C., Hospital Español de México, Hospital General Manuel Gea Gonzalez, Hospital Central Sur de Alta Especialidad Petróleos Mexicanos, and Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara. All of them are certified by the Mexican Medical Council.
From a general perspective, I wanted to list the type of consultations that can be solved and addressed via telemedicine. First-time consultations are easily addressed via telemedicine, where patients don’t know what to do or where to go. In this regard, telemedicine is an easy and immediate channel. Doctors can guide patients to assess if they need an immediate emergency visit to the hospital or doctor, or not.
Doctors also clearly believe that telemedicine is a good channel to support patients with chronic diseases. Chronic diseases require recurrent medical support, continuous measurements of vital signs and medicines. Technology can clearly integrate all these needs to make the support much more efficient and effective for patients. Pharmaceutical companies are commercializing very effective and user-friendly medical devices that patients can easily use from home. Connected medical devices allow patients to easily measure and track their vital signs from their home during their routines, and all those measurements are easily available for doctors during the telemedicine consultations. Leveraging technology and the use of telemedicine can definitely contribute to improving the quality of life of patients with chronic diseases. Doctors can easily help patients with the treatment dosage. Many patients may know the medicine they need, but they have doubts about the optimal dosage. This is particularly frequent among pediatricians looking after babies and children.
Telemedicine is very useful for routine checkups. Technology can be used to remind patients to attend routine checkups as and when required. Technology allows the systematization and segmentation of medical protocols for prevention and medical checkups. Doctors can advise patients on what type of test they require, and also interpret the results of laboratory analyses. All this can be done via telemedicine.
The massive and significant use of smartphones and digitization among the population can be leveraged to improve prevention. Providing the right information about nutrition, healthy habits, and prevention of certain diseases can improve prevention. Mexico has a very high ratio of preventable deaths and treatable deaths, such as from diabetes, overweight and hypertension. Prevention, information and monitoring are key to preventing and treating chronic diseases.
Many psychoanalysts agree that telemedicine is a great channel for mental health. Telemedicine and videocalls seem to be preferred by a large number of patients for therapy with a psychoanalyst. Mental health is still taboo in some countries and telemedicine eases access to the service. Many hospitals and companies implemented mental health programs for their employees during COVID-19 and the use and impact has been significant. Last but not least, many telemedicine programs have been implemented to support patients with COVID-19 as they are isolated at home.
All doctors agree that telemedicine is giving them immediate access to patients’ electronic medical history. Interoperability and a unified medical history are among the key benefits of telemedicine. Patients (and doctors) should have access to their medical profile as and when required, and telemedicine and technology are helping to achieve that.
According to MeetingDoctors’ experience, the specialties with highest demand for telemedicine are general practice, gynecology, pediatrics, psychology and dermatology. The health sector seems to agree that more than 70 percent of medical consultations can be done through telemedicine and do not require a face-to-face visit to the doctor. Telemedicine reduces unnecessary travel, increases the frequency of contact with patients who require follow-up or monitoring and improves the doctor-patient relationship. Telemedicine offers safe and reliable contact to both new and elderly patients. It closes the gaps by allowing the therapeutic relationship between the doctor and the patient to continue, offering optimal results through a simple procedure.
Telemedicine can only succeed if implemented with secure and easy-to-use models. Both patients and doctors need to easily use the telemedicine platforms to capture the full potential of the opportunity. MeetingDoctors is a B2B, white-label solution that is integrated in more than 100 ecosystems of our partners. We are giving access to our solution to more than 7 million people in 15 countries. Since 2017, MeetingDoctors has devoted significant resources related to data protection and cybersecurity as we comply with GDPR in the EU. As technology and the telemedicine market grow, regulation and data protection certification mechanisms also change and evolve. MeetingDoctors is committed to complying with and implementing the new requirements.