What are the Things to be Cautious with Telemedicine?

Dr. Sneha Ganatra
July 10, 2020

Telemedicine is the remote diagnosis and treatment of patients by the means of telecommunications technology. It is a tool that makes healthcare more accessible and cost-effective, while increasing patient engagement. The primary goal here is to facilitate remote care to areas with a lack of healthcare infrastructure, but this has now changed. Today, due to the pandemic, telemedicine services are in demand across geographies and for good reason too. When used efficiently, professional can address minor and urgent conditions for patients near or away from them effectively.

Telemedicine has become the need of the hour in this pandemic. As the need for quality care continues to grow, telemedicine promises to empower patients with more information and control over their healthcare decisions than ever before. Being economically and technically feasible, it is gaining popularity, which is why you should be aware of possible shortcomings. To that end, here are all the factors to be cautious about with telemedicine.

Credentials of the specialist

Telemedicine is a convenient option for those who cannot go to the doctor due to chronic medical conditions or fear of catching infectious and contagious disease like COVID-19. However, accessibility shouldn’t come at the cost of quality. It is important to check the credentials of the doctor providing care and patients that aren’t tech-savvy may find this difficult. Moreover, without conducting proper research, patients may even avail services from someone underqualified to handle their need, which can be problematic.

Reduced in-person visits

Ideally, patients should provide detailed medical information and should show any visible symptoms that require treatment. However, this is easier said than done, especially since virtual consults are still relatively new to both parties involved. The lack of in-person visits can be a disadvantage in some scenarios. This is when the professional judgment of Registered Medical Practitioners must be exercised to decide the best route for treatment.

Decreased efficacy in emergencies

In cases of emergency, patients should resort to an in-person visit for optimal care. While telemedicine does offer the option of personalised remote care, it isn’t as effective as in-person care and so, it may not be the best solution in emergencies. As such, you should be cautious about relying on it for care in cases of chronic illnesses where emergencies are common.

Lack of clarity in health insurance policies

While there is a very clear need for telemedicine services today, many policymakers are yet to recognise it as a formal procedure viable for coverage. There is a lot of uncertainty in this regard and other factors like healthcare law, privacy protection, and reimbursement terms. While telemedicine isn’t a 1:1 alternate to an in-person visit, it is the safest route available to you today and you may not receive the coverage you would otherwise. This is another factor to be cautious about when it comes to availing telemedicine services.

Steeper learning curve can lead to inadequate care

While telemedicine has been around for a while, it wasn’t ever the need of hour as it has become today. Medical practitioners are now forced to get acquainted with it, all while dealing with the burden of the pandemic. Further, it is quite expensive for healthcare centres to adopt as it means having the right IT infrastructure and training protocols in place. Also, this isn’t a mode of treatment all doctors and trained medical staff are familiar with. Without proper training or familiarity, there is a chance that patients may receive inadequate care.

Despite the many benefits on offer, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to availing telemedicine facilities. However, don’t let this discourage you from opting for telemedicine services, especially during these trying times, where going to clinics and specialists is very risky. As long as you know and address the unique risks that come with consulting online, it won’t be long before this is a preferred way of consulting doctors. In fact, to make the transition simpler, use the Bajaj Finserv Health App.

This provision is an all-in-one tool that ensures you have the smoothest experience availing the services of a medical professional. Its many features not only enhance accessibility, but also aid optimal care. With it, you can find doctors in your area, book appointments online and even consult with them virtually over video. What’s more, you can also use it to maintain digital patient records and send these to specialists digitally. You can also use the other proactive health management features offered by this app such as a Health Risk Assessment, Aarogya Care plans, and more. To view all of them, download the app for free on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

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