Telemedicine Allows Virtual Doctors' Visits
Family physicians resort to telemedicine amidst coronavirus pandemic.
04:48 09 April 2020
As medical offices are rendered a no-go zone by the coronavirus pandemic, more and more family physicians are now resorting to online tools and telephone to provide medical care to their patients. The virtual visits, which are also a way to protect patients against the pandemic, has now replaced the line in waiting rooms for patients with everyday illnesses such as fever and body aches.
Dr. Sam Wessely, a general practitioner in London, said that the pandemic has drastically changed the face of healthcare. "We're basically witnessing 10 years of change in one week. It used to be that 95per cent of patients contact was face-to-face - You go to see your doctor, as it has been for decades, centuries. But that has changed completely", he said:
Beccy Baird, a senior fellow at the King's Fund, a health care research charity, believes that the trend will continue long after the pandemic is over. "I think a lot of it will remain this way after the crisis. What's really key is that we don't lose patients' ongoing relationships with a group of professionals at their home practice", she said.
Dr. Paul Deffley, a general practitioner in Brighton, said that doctors also put patients at risk by seeing them face to face: "The risk I posed to residents of a nursing home by going in there is pretty significant, yet they are some of our most fail patients. Being able to eyeball someone, to engage in a consultation with them and assess for clinical signs, is an absolute game-changer for how we're able to safely manage people", he said:
Meanwhile, large primary care practices in London are setting up their so-called dirty zones where patients showing symptoms of the coronavirus are examined. Other primary care networks have set up entire clinics for patients with pressing health problems and respiratory difficulties.