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【Telemedicine】Telemedicine Guide: Your first journey to video consultation

TelemedicineTelemedicine Guide: Your first journey to video consultation

 

Mr. Wong is a chronic patient who needs to have follow-up consultations regularly at hospital or clinic. However, he thinks it wastes a lot of time going out for medical treatments. He has been busy with work recently, so he wants to try telemedicine. He thinks it’s very convenient, and wants to get prepared for his first try.

 

Is telemedicine right for you?

  • Can your electronic device support a video call? You’ll need a reliable and stable internet connection and gadgets like smartphone, tablet or laptop computer to download the video consultation app.
  • Will it be a First or a Follow up consultation? If this is your first time to use video consultation, check with the professional first. Your physician will judge whether your condition is suitable to be assessed in a video call. If you need a physical examination, you probably need to attend the clinic in person.
  • Check with your agent to see if your insurance will cover the cost.

Choose your location

  • You need to stay in a position where you can have a stable internet connection for clear image and sound.
  • Choose a quiet, well lit area where you won’t be interrupted or distracted.
  • Sit in a comfortable seat, positioned upright and forwards so your doctor can see you clearly.
  • If you want someone sitting in with you, please make sure there is room for them. It helps the doctor if they can be seen too. Their reactions and comments give useful hints.

Choose your device

  • A desktop, laptop computer, android tablet, iPad or Iphone are devices which you can use for telemedicine.
  • Check that the camera is clear.
  • Check whether the microphone and amplifier are working properly.
  • Allow camera and microphone permissions when using the consultation app.
  • Make sure your device has enough power.

Which app or software to use?

  • It is better to choose local telemedicine providers in Hong Kong, because they need to comply with local medical laws and conditions.
  • Choose the application or software which includes your required specialists.

Prepare what you want to talk about and for what you might be asked

  • Think about what you want to talk about. If necessary, make a list.
  • Include when your symptoms began and how they developed. For symptoms like skin problems, show them on the screen.
  • Jot down a list of any past medical conditions, and provide any relevant medical reports you may have, doctor’s reports, test results.
  • Have any medications upset you? Any allergies?
  • Have you had any relevant tests, like X Rays or MRI results? When were they done? What were the report results?
  • For a follow up consult, consider how things have changed – what has improved and what hasn’t?
  • If you are on medication – has it helped or not?
  • Do your relatives have similar problems?

The consultation

  • Settle in 15 minutes early.
  • Check whether the application or software is working properly.
  • Provide your identification document to the doctor as required by the telemedicine law in Hong Kong.
  • Check if you are the one to call in or wait to be contacted. When the call starts – check you are speaking to the right person. Introduce anyone else even if they are off camera.
  • Check you and the doctor have a clear image and sound.
  • Don’t be put off if the doctor isn’t always looking at you ‘eye to eye’ because they need to look down to make notes etc.
  • Check your list as you go along to make sure everything you want to cover is discussed.

Winding up the consultation

  • Request a summary or ask for clarification for things that you missed out or don’t understand.
  • Agree the plan, tests, treatments and the next steps including:
    • follow up appointment
    • prescription for medication if needed
    • what to do if things don’t go as planned

After the consultation

  • You should receive a report about the summary of the consultation.
  • If necessary, sick leave certificate and referral letter can also be provided.
  • If anything has been missed out, misunderstood or if you remember something extra do contact the doctor.
  • Let your doctor know how you felt the consultation went and how it could be improved.
  • Follow up drug arrival time

Conclusion:

If you’ve gotten this far, you have probably become familiar with telemedicine. Just try and see if telemedicine is the right choice for you!

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【telemedicine】How telemedicine can offer benefits to patients and professionals?

Angel felt weak when she got up. After she measured her body temperature, she found that she had a fever. She called her boss to ask for leave, and decided to go to see a doctor to get medicine and a sick leave certificate. However, she was feeble, and decided to give telemedicine a try. It was easy to use, and Angel could consult with a doctor without having to go out. Medicine was delivered to home very soon.

 

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a way of providing medical care remotely, usually through a dedicated telemedicine app. It provides a wide range of care options, including general consultations, psychotherapy, physical therapy, and other specialists’ services. The emergence of telemedicine offers a range of benefits for both patients and healthcare providers, especially during the covid-19 pandemic.

 

Applications of Telemedicine

Doctors and patients can use telemedicine to:

Assess whether or not the patient needs treatment in person

Provide certain kinds of medical care, such as counselling services and specialist referrals 

Consult, adjust and refill the prescribed medication

Review medial test, laboratory and radiological investigation report

Discuss treatment plan 

 

For patients who must practice physical distancing, such as staying in quarantine or unable to go to clinic or hospital in person, telemedicine is a handy alternative option.

 

Benefits for patients

Telemedicine can help treat various medical conditions. It is most effective when a person seeks care from qualified professionals and describes their symptoms clearly.

1. Convenience: 

Telemedicine allows people to consult with physicians in their own safe and private homes. Patients can also take more time to rest without commuting and waiting in the queue in a healthcare facility.

2. Improved access to care:

Disabilities and elderly could access care more easily through telemedicine.

3. Avoid cross-infection: 

Going to the clinic or hospital means being around people who may be sick. This may pose harm for people with underlying conditions or weak immune systems. Telemedicine can reduce the risk of cross-infection.

 

Benefits for healthcare providers

1. Additional revenue stream: 

Telemedicine provides another way for clinicians to supplement their incomes, as they can provide care to more patients.

2. Avoid exposure to pathogens: 

When medical professionals see patients remotely, they can avoid the exposure to germs and viruses.

3. Patient satisfaction: 

Patients may be more satisfied as they don’t have to travel to the clinic or wait for care.

 

Summary

Patients with conditions that don't require laboratory tests or a physical examination can work well with telemedicine. For acute situations like covid-19 pandemic, or patients who live far away from medical facilities, professionals can expand the list of conditions they are willing to treat. However, it is important that patients check the qualification of the doctor providing care.