Telemedicine has found its spotlight. After many years of aborted attempts to kickstart it, it never really went into mainstream.
I think it is related to scope of investments, getting people to use it and defining the ROI for the best use case scenarios. You can’t put on rose-tinted glasses without accounting for the costly overheads- a dedicated symmetric line (broadband), billing mechanism, insurance, lack of clarity on guidelines and quantifiable metrics. How do you keep the users engaged or ensure that you have a “crystal clear” bi-directional conversation? These are best case scenarios and many users would fail to grasp the nuances.
I am only highlighting the challenges.
However, it’s still debatable how efficient telemedicine can be for first-time consultation versus follow-ups or specialised help. Even in many developed countries telemedicine or telehealth is being used as complementary and supplementary services to physical visits to a doctor.
Is telemedicine consultation safe?
“It (telehealth) works for very specific things like a disease helpline or diabetes or hypertension management. But it cannot be used to read the symptoms for the first time. In most cases, doctors diagnose through physical examination because patients might not be able to articulate their problems very well. For example, weakness can be because of anything. Plus, there are medicolegal implications too,” says Dr Kirti Sabnis, infectious diseases specialist & HIV physician, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai.
The article is behind a paywall but it is totally recommended. The coronavirus pandemic will push us towards a new behavioural change.