Since the pandemic, telehealth has been on the rise to limit Covid-19 spread. Video consultation is gradually becoming part of the new normal, assuring physical and mental health care at home. While it can be intimidating to embrace virtual health care, here is what you need to know.
Telehealth existed long before the pandemic arrived. However, since the pandemic there has been a sudden telehealth switch. An overnight shift in health care at home via video consultation to limit Covid-19 spread.
Telehealth can come across as a complex task not only for seniors but also for the health workforce. The health workforce undergoes telehealth training and education. This ensures telehealth is done systematically and appropriately. While everyone, including patients, need to view telehealth as an integral part of health care instead of an emergency option.
Here is what you need to know about telehealth/tele-consultation
How to telehealth:
1. Call to book a tele-consultation – First thing first, call and book an appointment. Find out the platform your doctor uses and if there are any forms you need to fill. The pace of uptake will differ from clinic to clinic.
2. Prepare for your consultation – Check your internet connection, make sure you have a decent speed. Choose your preferred device – phone, iPad, computer. Download the relevant application used by your doctor and get to know the basics of the application. So that next time you will know how to operate it. Basics like signing in, and making or receiving a call.
3. Have everything you need – Next, make sure you have everything the doctor needs. Your medical history, current symptoms, recent test results and details of your medicines should be close at hand. You can even bring the bottles up to the camera to give your doctor a close-up.
4. Keep in mind the purpose of consultation – Make a list of questions for your doctor, mention the important issues first. Ask about follow-up consultation. Make sure the doctor gets the full picture of your condition, so you get specific medicines and tests you may need to undergo.
5. In case of serious illness – If you have a more serious injury or illness, inform your doctor of any symptoms you can measure, such as temperature and heart rate. Let them know about any measures you have taken yourself, and their outcome. If you are advised to stay at home, ask about the follow-up plan and what symptoms you should watch for in case further treatment is required.
6. Have patience – This is new for all of us. Many doctors are new to extensive use of technology. Treat them like a fellow newcomer. Telehealth consultations have been considered a good option for minor and routine check-up. It will surely help you to prompt visit to the hospital when you need to and when you don’t.
The benefits of telehealth:
– It is convenient – While the fear of the virus has kept us indoors. Telehealth can be done at home. You do not have to step out.
– Remote monitoring – Virtual monitoring of health conditions such as diabetes, high bp and like can be done frequently, so that if anything goes awry, immediate actions can be taken.
– Treating urgent symptoms – The last thing you want when a fever or cough hits is to drag yourself out of bed to the clinic filled with other sick people. Virtual care lets you have an initial appointment right from your bed.
– Cost effective – Telehealth care is having doctors participating together in a virtual visit (if needed), reducing the number of appointments you need and, in many cases, the costs you pay.
– Health care from anywhere – If you live far from a city or are in another country, telehealth is helping to expand access to both doctors and services.
Electronic prescriptions in the near future:
As telehealth is being accepted by people. You no longer have to visit your doctor to get a prescription, as it will be sent to you via digital media. The prescription will come to you on your mobile phone – like one of those QR codes we use to make payments. This QR code will have all the information about your prescription. You can then share the QR code with your pharmacist and they will deliver the prescribed medicines at your doorstep.
Telehealth is transforming lives in unimaginable ways. Its time we embrace the change and not be hesitant.