“How can you tell me I can get treated without seeing a doctor? How is it even possible?” Really common question in these climes and it’s understandable because Telemedicine is only just becoming a thing. In the past few months, it’s gone from something people just think is a nice techy idea to a really important aspect of Nigeria’s healthcare evolution, especially due to COVID-19.
So, we’ve put together some of the common questions we get about telemedicine in general, as well as those peculiar to our service. Here’s what you need to know.
- What is telemedicine?
This is the practice of providing clinical care to patients with the aid of telecommunications technology. In other words, it is a method of treating patients using the internet and telephone. This can take the form of something as simple as a telephone conversation to real-time video visits, secure email, or remotely monitoring a patient’s vital signs.
- Are telemedicine and telehealth the same thing?
Both terms are often used interchangeably but telemedicine is technically a subset of telehealth. Telehealth also includes non-clinical uses of telecommunications technology such as self- monitoring, provider and patient education, and medical records management.
- Does a patient have to meet with a provider in-person before a visit can be conducted?
In these parts, it is not necessary for the doctor/patient relationship to be established in-person. However, a prior in-person visit is a requirement in some parts of the world.
- Is telemedicine technology difficult to use?
This largely depends on the specific application telemedicine software is generally designed to be as easy to use. Patients and providers with a basic familiarity with online apps should be able to quickly figure out how to use a telemedicine app.
- Must it always be an app, what if I don’t have data?
In our case, an app isn’t even necessary, all you need to do is call a phone number – 0700 AVON TELEDOC (0700 2866 8353362)
- Is Avon HMO’s telemedicine service available 24/7?
No, our telemedicine clinic operates between 8am – 6pm, Monday to Friday and 10am – 4pm on weekends.
- Is it free or there’s an extra charge?
At Avon HMO, our telemedicine service is a sole benefit of our members and it’s absolutely free for them to use – you only pay for call charges.
- Is the quality of care the same as an in-person hospital visit?
The quality of telemedicine as a method of healthcare delivery is confirmed by decades of research and demonstrations. Telemedicine has been found to be a safe, cost-effective and convenient way to provide healthcare services.
- What if I need medication or specialist care? How does that work?
This is quite simple for us at Avon HMO. Thanks to our extensive network of Diagnostics Centres and Pharmacies across the country, we can refer you for a higher level of care if the need arises or even have medications delivered at your doorstep by our Pharmacy partners.
- Who benefits from telemedicine?
There are three main beneficiaries of telemedicine:
Patients: Telemedicine gives patients the opportunity to receive care without a trip to the doctor’s office. They don’t have to take time away from work or family responsibilities. They don’t waste time traveling, or money on parking or public transportation. They don’t risk exposure to other patients with communicable illnesses. And they get better health outcomes and become more engaged in their own healthcare.
Providers: telemedicine reduces the time of each encounter, allowing providers to see more patients, more efficiently. This boosts revenue and minimize overhead expenses. Telemedicine reduces no-shows and cancellations while it also helps secure patient loyalty in a competitive healthcare landscape.
The Healthcare System: Even if you never use telemedicine yourself, you will likely benefit from the practice. The efficiency of telemedicine will reduce wait-times for in-person visits, help keep people with non-urgent conditions out of the emergency room and improve the overall health of the population.
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