Are you a doctor? Understand the importance of digital health and join us in being part of this change. Clinics in Ontario can be the leaders in this new way of delivering care.
Currently, society is experiencing a profound impact in the economy worldwide. The market is in need to reinvent itself, towards both economic recovery and flattening of the Coronavirus curve. With the pandemic, telemedicine – especially through Virtual Care– appears to be an important support for the population, who now have access to doctors at any time, without having to leave their home, covered by OHIP in Ontario.
Telemedicine brings many benefits to patients and physicians who practice it. In United States, research indicates that last year, virtual consultations were conducted by 22 million people in the country. Telemedicine is lagging behind in Canada compared to other places in the world but we are getting there. The pandemic is pushing for healthcare to evolve digitally.
There was a cultural prejudice from both, doctors and patients, using telemedicine, until we were all required to take advantage of digital services, from ordering meals through phone apps or shopping in supermarkets remotely, to hold work and family meetings by videoconference and to perform online consultations. We have then realized, that things can still go digital and still serve its purpose.
An article published by PWC spain addresses the transformation of telemedicine and its support during the pandemic. According to the article, out of necessity, there was a change in attitude from consumers and healthcare providers towards virtual care. During this period, doctors have realized that this type of care, serves its purpose: patients are satisfied and the service is cost effective. The study also shows telemedicine as a possible game changer and a tool for healthcare system improvement:
“After flattening the curve, an opportunity will open up to reform the healthcare system. Patients will have other expectations regarding health care and increasingly expect online care to complement face-to-face.”
Resistance to change by the medical team has also been a difficult obstacle to overcome. Physicians are sometimes not technologically advanced, nor are comfortable with a “non-interventionist” approach that seems contrary to their preparation for face-to-face patient care.
“Face-to-face medical care is undoubtedly a practice rooted in society. However, the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented and will change our mindset in a thousand ways, also in regards to our expectations about health care. We believe that telemedicine has an important role to play in the future of medical care: it means making the right care happen, in the right place, at the right time,” the article says.
And, in fact, telemedicine has a very clear goal when it comes to virtual care: to provide care to cases of low complexity quickly and safely and, if necessary, the professional can direct the patient to a healthcare institution for a face-to-face consultation. However, statistics indicate that around 80% of all medical care could be solved by virtual care and that about 70% of patients seek a professional not for prescription, but for guidance, which today can be performed without leaving their home.
Up until this date, there was never much discussion about telemedicine as we have today. In the world, telemedicine is already more advanced, but it was still little used, because of human behaviour, which tends to want to maintain a certain habit. But, the need ‘drives change’, and this moment of chaos has brought to light, the urgency of developing health care based on technology.
Telemedicine works very well in what we call ‘economic efficiency’: it has low cost and high productivity. Doctors need to understand this positive viability. Cost, as the doctor only needs computer and internet to perform the consultation. Productivity, as it is possible to perform more medical care from digital platforms full of features that facilitate real-time communication. Thus, it is possible for the doctor to cheapen their cost of care and be available to patients from anywhere in the province.
There is no longer the “future generation”. We are the ones who know how to use technology. Therefore, doctors should learn not only to live with it, but to use it well and adapt to the screens. Telemedicine is here to stay and will be further enhanced. In a continental country like ours, where it is difficult to provide access to everyone, telemedicine is the bare minimum.
EMERGE’s platform for Virtual Care is safe and agile so that patients can schedule their own online appointments and allow doctors to spend time where it matters the most: assisting patients.
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To learn more about telemedicine and technological innovations for patient care continue to follow the updates on our blog. If you have any questions, please contact us.
EMERGE is passionate about facilitating the productiveness and efficiency of service in the healthcare industry. We aim to bring satisfaction to all our clients, whether it is making hospitals and clinics more prepared for accepting patients and cutting their operational costs, or saving patients’ time by avoiding frustrating waiting lines.
We hope our blog will be a supportive source of useful information that can be adapted to enhance your practice.