In a lot of ways, I do believe telemedicine is the future of healthcare, especially with the radical shift in how healthcare itself is transforming towards a more digital landscape.
Instead of 50, I’ll just give you the 9 reasons I personally feel telemedicine works the best way for both doctors and patients. This is from a piece I recently wrote for a health-tech blog as well.
Patients have started believing in the veracity of telemedicine
Most of the recent surveys conducted around telemedicine have revealed that patients are actually warming up to telemedicine, wherein they don’t have to wait for long hours at the doctor’s office and can avoid commuting altogether, given the fact that they can avail medical care just by having a smartphone, at any given time. At mfine, holistic care is just a touch on the phone away, whether you’re at a metropolitan city or a remote village, and this ease of access to every user is what we strive for.
Telemedicine is fully legal
Telemedicine is recognized by the Government of India and is considered as both a health service and an information service. The legality of Telemedicine and E-prescription is derived from combining the following Indian Government acts and rules:
Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945
The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act)
The Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (“MCI Act”) and The Indian Medical Council(Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 (“MCI Code”)
The interpretation of the above is that the laws applicable to medical practitioners while practicing medicine are the same laws that are applicable while practicing and providing services through telemedicine.
The quality of care with telemedicine is top-notch
Quality is the air to the lungs, without which any healthcare platform is bound to sink, let alone telemedicine. With telemedicine, quality is the force that drives one to provide maximized standards of virtual care to their patients. The endeavor is to make diagnoses that are effective and unequivocal, with evidence-based guidelines and novel clinical treatment technology, for cases that can be handled with virtual care. There’s no ambiguity in the fact that not all cases can be treated with virtual care and telemedicine, in no way, claims to do so. Using apps that offer telemedicine, you can consult top doctors anytime, anywhere, and get digital prescriptions that not only include your medication but also your diet and lifestyle recommendations, post-consultation. You can manage all your health reports, prescriptions, and medical history at one place on the app and any doctor you consult on the app is equipped to know and understand your complete medical history, just like your family doctor would.
People are breaking free from the belief that a ‘physical examination’ in healthcare is always a must!
It has been believed for the longest time that in order to diagnose any condition, a physical examination is a must! While that’s true for some conditions, there’s a plethora of other conditions that don’t need physical assessments. The right medical history and symptoms of the patient are enough for a doctor to make the right diagnosis and provide an effective treatment plan for many minor urgent conditions. At mfine, we also believe that providing immediate diagnosis and treatment alone doesn’t sum up a doctor-patient consultation. Follow-up calls and post-consultation check-ins are integral components of our healthcare delivery, which doesn’t necessarily require a physical examination anyway.
Telemedicine ensures a long and strong doctor-patient relationship
If done right, telemedicine actually ensures a strong and effective doctor-patient relationship in the long run with a care plan that stands against the test of time. The focus is on maintaining an individual’s complete health records in one place, wherein it becomes easy for the doctor to access the patient’s medical history easily to evaluate any further health concerns that the patient may come up with anytime in the future. Additionally, the follow-up feature that some telemedicine apps like mfine offer, enables patients to reach out to the very same doctor periodically. The geographical reach is also extensive through telemedicine and the service hours are also extended in virtual care, which sets a benchmark in itself, since health issues never follow a 9 to 5 pattern like our jobs do; it can show up anytime, anywhere.
Patient privacy is a top trait in telemedicine
Data and security breaches have been a grave cause of concern not only in the virtual care sector but also in traditional clinics. In telemedicine, patient confidentiality is integral and this is why folks in telemedicine adhere to data privacy, security, and quality-standards that also form the imperative core of their service.
The risk of malpractice is lower in telemedicine
Telemedicine actually reduces the risk of malpractice, simply by adding another valid documentation of your treatment, which will forever stay in one place. It also augments the modes of contact for doctors to keep track of their patients. Be it an orthopedic surgeon who needs post-op updates from his patients, or a general physician who wants to know if their care plan worked on the patient who consulted them for a fever or viral infection—in more ways than one, via follow-up calls and reminders, most telemedicine apps strive to ensure patients are provided with holistic care at every stage possible.
Triage protocols of telemedicine are great
You get hospital-valid authentic prescriptions too!
Truth be told, The Drugs and Cosmetics Rules, 1945, specify the essentials of a valid prescription made against medical consultation and diagnosis service under any remote or telemedicine format. It states that the prescription should satisfy the following legal requirements:
The prescriptions should come from a Registered Medical Practitioner.
It should follow the guidelines as defined under Section 65(10) in Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945.
A prescription in an electronic format may be validated as a legal prescription if it is a secure electronic record affixed with a secure digital signature as prescribed under the IT Act, 2000.
Most top telemedicine channels abide by these norms.
It is evident that Telemedicine involves several benefits for patients, physicians, and medical institutions, and also plays a major role in the development of medicine and healthcare delivery in India.