Teleconsultation is revolutionising healthcare, delivering unparalleled convenience. But, are we prepared to confront its associated challenges?
For the unversed, India’s telemedicine market size has witnessed a gradual increase and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 31 percent from 2020 to 2025.
Especially during the pandemic, the adoption of virtual care saw a humongous adoption with teleconsultation, telepathology and e-pharmacy gaining an overall impetus.
The contemporary landscape of healthcare delivery has witnessed the integration of teleconsultation with a transformative approach, offering both patients and medical practitioners unprecedented convenience and accessibility. This paradigm shift, however, brings to the forefront a spectrum of challenges, particularly in the realm of doctor safety.
The undeniable truth remains that the advent of teleconsultation has introduced a unique set of vulnerabilities, necessitating a comprehensive examination of safety in teleconsultation, both of patients and medical professionals, and of course, protection of patient data.
Delving deeper into the thought, and suggesting ways to uphold the thought of safety in teleconsultations, Dr. C.M.A Belliappa, Consultant Medical Director, Practo, Aviation and Aerospace Medicine Specialist, and General Physician, RxDx Healthcare, recently had his insights delivered during the Practo Connect webinar on Safety in Teleconsultation.
The webinar covered a plethora of topics that provides a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the exigencies and intricacies surrounding the modalities of digital and telehealth delivery. Besides, the webinar was attended and backed by several other Doctors, cementing the fact that they need to be well equipped with proper knowledge and strategies to ensure patient care standards while also safeguarding their well-being during the teleconsultation sessions.
The webinar touches upon the following points:
- Ensuring Patient Identity to prevent misdiagnosis and unauthorised access
- Informed Consent and Privacy
- Documentation and Follow-up
- Unique challenges that doctors could face during teleconsultations
- Importance of secure/ updated hardware and software
- Importance of professional boundaries
- Handling inappropriate/ disruptive behaviour
- Legal and ethical obligations of data security
- Secure Video Conferencing
- Data Breach Response
- Staff Training as an important aspect of data security
To please click on the video below to watch the full webinar:
In conclusion, Dr Belliappa adds that the future of telemedicine hinges on research and development supported by advanced technology, robust audio and video quality, and quick access to electronic medical records. Standardisation across platforms and continuous education for healthcare professionals are essential. Patient empowerment is also crucial, but patients should be aware of telemedicine’s limitations and the importance of physical visits when necessary. Ultimately, telemedicine’s success depends on a combination of technology and human understanding, ensuring the right care is delivered to the right patient at the right time.