Posted on Sep 15, 2014 by Alex Nellist
People self diagnose. Whether a person asks a friend with a similar experience, has overzealous trust in television dramas or surfs for ‘possible related diseases’ on WebMD, the modern person has access to a wealth of information concerning health conditions. In this on-demand-world it is hardly surprising that people want questions answered quickly. So if this modern life demands it, have we met it?
Pacific Prime’s explores from an inside perspective how effective remote healthcare is, and whether it’s future looks bright.
What Is It
Health-related services and information delivered with telecommunications, ‘Telehealth’ encompasses situations from health professionals reviewing a case over the telephone, to procedures as sophisticated as remote robotic surgery across facilities. Otherwise known as ‘Remote’ healthcare, the process also includes physicians using emails to correspond with patients, arrange medical prescriptions and provide other health services. This form of healthcare is essentially the monitoring of conditions without the need to attend a physical location.
Who Uses It
Ease of access is an important feature of remote healthcare, particularly for people living independently, who, without the platform would be required to find long-term care (patients could instead manage their own health and allows clinicians to monitor them remotely).
On an overseas business trip or vacation, it can be used to help people feel secure knowing they are talking to someone in their native language, or someone who already has their medical records ready. From a home computer a physician can review a patient’s medical notes and history, can access test results and direct local doctors with further instructions all in real time. Those living in remote locations who for various reasons cannot access a doctor or a clinic without packing an overnight bag also benefit from the expansion of remote healthcare.
Pacific Prime who works in partnership with HealthQuo, an international telehealth platform where patients and doctors meet through secure and encrypted videoconferencing over the Internet, discussed a few of the details to explain telehealth.
When asked about the protocols to make the service practical, such as where to actually get prescriptions, HealthQuo confirmed that about 95% of online consults get prescribed over-the-counter medications. Medications that do not require official prescription forms to be provided for the patient. If a doctor through an online/remote service makes a diagnosis that does require prescription medicine, the patient would acquire them through the network of services appointed by the patients’ insurer. The medicine can be acquired at any pre-approved pharmacies or hospital covered by the insurer.
When asked about the service being accessible for client’s living in very remote areas, and whether the referral process would differ, there were assurances that referrals work exactly the same as with the pharmacies, with each insurer indicating pre-approved hospitals to find a physician. The doctor on the other side of a webcam can refer the patient based on this insurer network much the same as the usual process, but the information has to be provided as soon as possible to successfully distribute it around a worldwide medical network.
If a person was to use a telehealth service on a long-term basis, for example while on business trip overseas they would be able to talk to a doctor in their home country and then be referred to another doctor in the country they are currently in, the only requisite that the insurance provider states it is willing to cover the cost of both doctors.
The practice has become widely used with support from some large names in the insurance industry. Bupa has joined in a partnership with The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to use mobile technologies in an effort to combat chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory conditions. Bupa chief executive Stuart Fletcher stated the partnership would “be at the heart of a systemic intervention in healthcare and will help millions of people to live longer, healthier, happier lives, fulfilling our purpose.”
Patients and doctors are able to meet through secure and encrypted videoconferencing over the Internet, eliminating distances, commuting and other costs. Some telehealth platforms have a reliable online presence, offering 24 hour services. Multilingual service with a variety of physicians, all certified doctors to provide the best customer service and experience.
Telehealth has also led to a better quality of care by supporting chronic disease management, and by functioning as a catalyst for necessary changes in leading practices (improvement of knowledge and skill development in local care providers).
Remote access to electronic medical information reduces administrative costs and clerical errors and facilitates physicians in retrieving vital medical information outside of hospitals or physician clinics, providing immediate remote access to patient information (simultaneously with other physicians if necessary) and a higher level of care.
A publication by the Department of Health in the UK suggested that telehealth services alone could save the NHS £240m a year. Writing on how the NHS has been slow to take up telehealth is doctor Mehmood Syed, the Medical Director for Bupa Home Healthcare who expressed his view on the clinical and financial benefits of remote healthcare being “of such a magnitude that they demand the full attention of staff at all levels of the health sector.” He further warned that incentives and organisational barriers would challenge the progress of remote healthcare, but that “the issue could be overcome with strong leadership and commitment to home healthcare at all levels of the NHS.”
Pacific Prime offering Quotes through Remote Video Calls
Pacific Prime is pleased to announce that an agreement has been reached with HealthQuo Ltd to offer it's clients Online Health Consulting.
Our insurance partners BUPA, InterGlobal, and IntegraGlobal have agreed to cover this telehealth service, and they will be providing online face-to-face consultations to give clients the convenience of speaking with a licensed healthcare professional anytime and anywhere.
Over 700 Certified physicians in a database to provide the best customer service and experience in more than 10 languages.
Easy access to the platform: In 4 clicks you have a doctor on your computer.
Solving more than 70% of everyday health consults, the remaining 30% is referred effectively decreasing the number of extra consults.
"Accessing doctors from our homes, offices or anywhere else will save time and money. Technology and health merge to provide a new world of possibilities, improving services without affecting their quality." - Rodrigo Cuesta, founder of HealthQuo.
We firmly believe this type of health service will become standard in the coming years and want to see our clients benefit from it. For more information, contact the advisors at Pacific Prime or HealthQuo today.