A 19-year-old from a small town, woke up from the floor of his bathroom, confused with body aching all over, no witness to tell what had happened to him. He gathered his thoughts, checked his mirror and noticed that his tongue was bleeding and he had a weird wet patch at the corner of his mouth. He realized that he has never had such an experience, and consults a doctor, trying to make sense of his ongoing headache, and about 20 minutes of lost time during which he was supposed to bring his uncle back home on a bike. The doctor is able to arrive at a probable diagnosis of a seizure episode, but while sitting over 2000 km away behind a phone screen.
The memory of this case is still fresh in my mind- alerting his family members and directing them to the need for emergency care and visiting a hospital was quite a task. I was glad he picked up his phone and decided to consult on an online platform. In remote areas with limited access to standardized healthcare, people are often minimizing their ideas of the need of a visit to a health facility due to inadequate information, cost concerns, distance and general ignorance towards their health conditions- ranging from pediatric illnesses to management of chronic conditions like diabetes.
In the above case, although there was no physical examination done, the online consultation had helped immensely and had saved a lot of time, perhaps also his life. Telemedicine has a massive impact on the early detection of disorders leading to timely therapeutic intervention, hence reducing the burden of associated morbidity.
Consulting a doctor online is advantageous in its own ways. For an anxious first-time mother, who was concerned about her newborn losing 200gm of weight within the first week of birth although there was no complication during or post-birth, speaking to a child specialist online over audio and video call was very relieving. After explanations of causes and reassurance that such a phenomenon is normal, she continued to monitor weight daily instead of panic-driven hourly, and on a follow-up, the child had regained the lost weight while the mother had regained confidence that her breast milk was adequate. Availability of doctors round the clock and the concept of having a fixed appointment without the need for waiting in queues in a hospital are truly instrumental for a successful online consultation and subsequent follow-ups.
Healthcare via teleconsultation is witnessing a boom that will continue in the coming years, with the increasing need for outreach into all kinds of communities and citizens from all walks of life. From acne issues to hair fall, from period cramps in the office to management of diabetes at the comfort of one’s own home- telemedicine provides endless opportunities to serve tactical diagnoses and treatment options.
MFine has been one of the pioneers in ensuring sufficient caregiving, even when virtual. With ever-advancing technology, artificial intelligence and availability of doctors in the country, it is possible to not only provide online consultations and long term follow-ups, but it is also possible to monitor the health status of entire families and maintain records online. Along with conducting lab tests at home– be it recommended or regular health check-ups, consultations are provided for explanation of reports and further treatment plans are advised. This way, the loop is closed and patient satisfaction is also ensured. The doctor-patient relationship only improves since adequate time is given, doubts answered and the window is kept open for any follow-up queries.
Even in the current times of coronavirus outbreak, direct hospital visits for any symptoms or follow-ups without prior information of history have been discouraged. While the coronavirus infection cannot be treated online, teleconsultation can help assess risks as well as alleviate anxiety surrounding the pandemic.
Social distancing might have separated us, but it should not stop us from helping others. Let’s take care of each other by forwarding a doctor to someone in need of medical help. India, khayal rakhna.
Note: If you have any health concerns for yourself or your family, you can now speak to top doctors online on our platform. You can also take the free COVID-19 self-assessment to know your risk of contracting coronavirus infection. In case you’re experiencing symptoms like sore throat, cough, fever, or breathing difficulty, get your symptoms assessed by top doctors on your phone on the MFine app.