Online counseling platforms have been around for many years, some as telemedicine portals, but the popularity of app-based online counseling has peaked with the spread of the pandemic. Everything moved online, as did the consultation with the doctors.
Online consultations give patients flexibility and avoid traffic jams and parking problems. Likewise, is it suitable for doctors as well, but is it a replacement for a visit to your doctor’s office? Not really. A personal visit to a doctor continues to be the most rewarding and reassuring way to consult. There is no match for face to face communication. Most importantly, a visit to the clinic allows the doctor to examine the patient.
You can always see a doctor online in specific situations such as the elderly during the pandemic, patients with limited mobility due to their physical or medical conditions, and a routine follow-up visit where the doctor recently examined you. It’s a good alternative to physically seeing a doctor, but not without a few caveats.
Remember that during an online consultation, the freedom of physicians to view the document, return X-ray / CT films and write notes is limited. It all happens on the same screen he’s talking to you, usually a mobile screen. “
Let’s take a look at the dos and don’ts of getting the most out of an online consultation:
Now that you are no longer driving and are wasting your time finding a place to park, it is better to use the time saved wisely. Organize-your-medical-history. Especially patients with long medical history and multiple visits to different doctors for various ailments like diabetes, heart problems etc. If you are seeing a doctor online, especially for the first time, make sure you have all of your conditions listed and a list. current medications you are already taking. Download this vital information along with relevant and recent prescriptions. Label them correctly and download them in chronological order. You can also put a post-it with the relevant information while you take a photo of the prescription or document. Images must be clear and the information they contain legible. Always click on a portrait mode to avoid rotating the screen to view. I reject the miserably posted documents and ask patients to send them back.
There is no doubt that online consultation gives you the opportunity to meet the doctor from the comfort of your own home, but you should always show courtesy and sincerity to the consultation, more than respect to the attending doctor. .
Here’s how to express your concern about your medical issues and your commitment to your health:
- Make sure you are available at the scheduled time.
- Your phone charged.
- Find a place for yourself with better connectivity and preferably less noisy.
- Sit down, please.
- Do not take the doctor’s call while walking or moving from room to room, and never lie in bed unless you are too sick to get up.
- Prepare a paper and pen for taking notes, if necessary.
- Keep all your files accessible by your side, so you can quickly retrieve the relevant document when requested.
- The whole family doesn’t have to be in the same room. Only the members essential for the consultation must be present.
- Please understand that unlike IT pros, doctors are not used to having long video calls online. Be concise, precise and to the point. Listen to the question and respond appropriately.
Are there things not to do?
- Don’t end the whole family consultation all at once. Talk only about the patient you planned to get the doctor’s full attention.
- Now that you have the doctor’s phone number, don’t call for every little problem and for heaven’s sake, don’t post hello messages on his personal Whatsapp number.
Applications improve and refine over time. More and more features are added every day. Doctors are also learning to adapt to this new toy. Although the acceptance of the online consultation is increasing, will it one day replace the conventional visit to the doctor?
With all of its pros and cons, online consultations may be a new normal. Let’s make the best use of it.
Dr Ashish Jain, senior consultant in the Department of Respiratory Medicine at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, writes about online consultations peaking at the time of the pandemic. With 20 years of professional experience and a keen interest in interventional bronchology, Dr Ashish Jain has several national and international publications to his credit.