Contributed by Dr. Ananth N Rao, General Manager, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur
Today, online interaction is almost seamless with the explosion of the Internet and smartphones making audio, video, and high-resolution graphics easily integrated into a user-friendly online experience.
There is no necessary to stress about how you are going to get to the clinic, or hospital amidst the lockdown. The focus is purely on talking to the doctor and taking advice on how to feel better as quickly as possible which you can do it through online consultation. Doctors will give online medical advice on your health issues and help identify next steps which may include further tests or a prescription. Online consultation will have features like image sharing, voice calling and video call to ensure that doctors get all the required information for a diagnosis. Every consultation is completely private & confidential.
Most of them seeking medical advice are used to having a doctor perform physical checks on them when they are sick. As a result of this, one can feel uneasy with the concept of an online doctor giving a diagnosis without performing these checks. While physical examinations are important for the diagnosis of certain diseases, there are also certain health conditions that can be diagnosed accurately without performing physical tests.
Virtual care is not meant to replace primary care but when there arise challenges to step out of the house due to lock down or any such crisis one can opt for online consultation. As mentioned above, there are conditions where a patient will have to visit a General Physician in person in order to get the appropriate tests done. Yet, telemedicine technology is still able to address a significant number of health conditions.
Below are the tips to make your online doctor consultation even more efficient and effective.
Ensure you are in a quiet room with a stable internet connection so that the doctor will be able to see and hear you efficiently. If your environment or technological restrictions cause the doctor to feel that they are not able to communicate effectively with you, it might be difficult to proceed with the consultation.
The doctor will have several basic questions during the consultation that they ask to get started, so it is better to be prepared with a brief medical summary in expectation of these questions. This will help in doctor’s analysis of your condition.
Items to include in your medical history are:
- Duration and nature of medical issue
- Past treatments tried and if the treatments were successful
- If any diagnostic tests done in the past
- Significant medical history and surgical history
- list of medications currently administered and allergies to which you are prone
- Avoid overhead lights: lights positioned directly above you will cast a shadow over your face, and/or result in a distracting glare.
- The camera frame should at least include your entire face and shoulders
- Ensure that your background is tidy and free of distractions and noise
- The hospital should have a registration process to collect your personal information so that they can keep a proper medical record for you
- Patients should be easily able to access consultation history on the platform.
The online consultations are always an option you can turn to for convenient medical advice specially when you face crisis situation like COVID-19 and have no easy access to the outside world. Furthermore, most common acute conditions can be handled through online consultations.