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Enterprise-Grade EMRs. Clinic System, and Medcurial (Blog Image)

Enterprise-grade EMRs, Clinic Systems, and Medcurial

Enterprise-grade EMRs, Clinic Systems, and Medcurial 800 507 Exist Software Labs

Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) play a huge role in making sure that enterprise clinics can stay on top when it comes to managing patients. With enterprise clinics, having an enterprise-grade EMR and CMS that can support your clinic’s complex operations is a must! Accessing patient records for clinics that can create a clinic network for multiple branches can be helpful for both patients and the management. 

For the patients, this allows them to have a freedom to choose which brand is more convenient for them. On the other hand, it increases the clinic’s efficiency and consolidates medical records into a single document as the patient’s EMR serves as a basis for all their current and underlying conditions which affects the clinicians and physicians’ approach in delivering care.

Enterprise clinics (multi-branch clinics, maritime clinics, mega clinics, etc.) need clinic systems that are designed to address interoperability between several departments and branches to make a network of care much like how different banks work together. 

Medcurial’s Enterprise-grade EMR & Clinic System

Medcurial CMS Enterprise is a web-based clinic management system for enterprise clinics, with a DOH-compliant enterprise-grade EMR, is best suited for clinics with multiple departments offering comprehensive medical and diagnostic services such as specialized occupational care centers, maritime and seafarers clinics, laboratories, and clinics with 20 or more users. Medcurial CMS Enterprise can help in increasing the efficiency of clinical processes which leads to better patient outcomes. Here’s some of Medcurial’s features:

  • Access all your patient records through an online, customizable, fully DOH-compliant enterprise-grade EMR system.

  • Deliver care beyond your clinic’s walls by engaging and connecting with your patients through a secure online patient portal.

  • Use telemedicine to conduct secure virtual/remote consultations and regular check-ups.

  • Open for 3rd Party Integration such as LIS, RIS, ERP, etc.

  • Access through any browser on your preferred device.

  • Track the current location of patients inside your clinic (by monitoring which section they are currently queued in).

Stay tuned to find out more about Medcurial CMS Enterprise in our following blogs! If you’re interested in upgrading your clinic system to Medcurial, reach out to us and we’ll schedule you a free demo. 

You can also try the free version for single-practice clinics here.

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    Do we really need EMRs for Telemedicine?

    Do we really need EMRs for Telemedicine?

    Do we really need EMRs for Telemedicine? 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    With the continuous innovation of technology in the world, the usage of Telemedicine is spreading now more than ever. 

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Telemedicine signifies the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve patient outcomes by increasing access to medical information. Moreover, they explained:

    “The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”  

    Globally, the trend for the application of Telemedicine since the start of the pandemic has been consistently rising. The risk of contracting COVID 19 when having to go to hospitals for check ups and consultations may be the biggest driver for the increasing application of Telemedicine. 

    In the Philippines, one Telemedicine provider reported a 170% increase in the number of teleconsultations, with an 80% resolution rate. Even the Department of Health (DOH) urges the public to opt for a teleconsult when dealing with non-urgent medical needs to prevent overcrowding in hospitals, therefore minimizing the risks of spreading the virus.

    However, for telemedicine to be more effective, clinicians will still need access to patient medical information, such as Electronic Medical Records (EMR), in order to give proper diagnosis. Using EMRs for Telemedicine provides care providers the necessary information that they should have in order to make an informed decision. Simultaneously, EMR also increases efficiency by reducing redundant tests since patient history is properly disclosed in the patient’s records.

    By using a system that’s integrated with EMRs and Telemedicine, hospitals and clinics can practice the use of these features and be able to evaluate, diagnose, consult, and do follow-ups from a distance. 

    So why use EMRs for Telemedicine?

    1. Coordinated care and better teleconsult

    Through EMRs, e-consultations can support a more team-based & holistic approach to patient care. By being able to see the patient’s previous results across different care settings, clinicians are better equipped to make an informed decision, thus ensuring quality patient care outcomes.

    2. Minimized duplication of records

    With proper handling of EMRs, there will only be 1 record per patient. This becomes a huge help when dealing with patients who are not aware that they already have an existing record. When making an EMR for a patient, the system will automatically detect if the person already has an existing record, saving time for both the hospital and the patient.

    3. Automated data entries

    If EMRs and Telemedicine are integrated into one system, doctor notes during a consult will automatically be part of the patient’s EMR for future reference. This ensures the accuracy of data entries into the patient’s records.

    With all these presented, hospitals and clinics should consider having a system that can support the usage of Telemedicine through EMRs. 

    Learn more about how Exist’s DOH-Accredited Electronic Medical Records, along with a Hospital and Clinic system that carries a Telemedicine module, can help you improve your practice and enhance patient care.

    Start using EMRs for Telemedicine now! You may request for a demo now by clicking here.

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    Buy & Build Hospital Systems Dilemma Revisited

    Buy & Build Hospital Systems Dilemma Revisited 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    What do hospitals have to deal with in choosing to buy or build systems??

    Delivering care now generally considers hospital information systems, applications, and software. Despite misgivings about cost as the previous article has pointed out, what first was a tool to ensure operational and financial efficiency, has grown far more valuable and one that continues to become essential in achieving whatever doctor, clinic, or hospital has originally set out to do – provide the right medical care based on data or evidence.

    Custom (build) or Off-the-shelf Systems (buy)

    The eternal dilemma facing CIOs is whether to build a system from scratch or mold an off-the-shelf application to the needs of the institution. Most decisions are a hybrid mix, but many hospitals lean too far in the emotional direction. When hard data is available, making an emotional decision is not a good business practice! 

    TechRepublic says it best:

    The major factor that significantly reduces the custom solutions’ ROI is the lack of available personnel with proper skill sets. That is also true in many cases. Such ultimately causes the endeavor to fail as well. It takes many skills to design and deploy a business solution that is both scalable and extensible. 

    Unless one of your business areas is product development, there is an extremely high probability that your operations and maintenance technology resources do not include all of the skill sets necessary for a successful solution.

    Even worse, the team may not fully understand the problem domain, and may not discover unknown requirements. 

    While cost between custom solutions and commercial built products have now been significantly reduced, if you are a clinic or hospital and IT resources are not available within the organization, then the option to look for available solutions in the market makes the most sense. 

    Here are key considerations for picking an off-the-shelf solution vs building a custom one which is also essentially a choice between product and vendor support:

    A product vendor who is responsible for adapting the product to technological advancements that are aligned with your overall strategy.

    They should be capable of providing immediate and long-term support to your organization.

    The product can meet most of the core business requirements.

    It should also be able to accommodate unsupported core business requirements via enhancements or additional modules.

    Reality-check

    The allure of both custom and off-the-shelf software is that all requirements can be satisfied, but that is a delusion. 

    Requirements are not just about features but about other system characteristics and technologies. While features reflect the immediate need for hospitals or clinics, long-term benefits impact ROI on either option. Clarifying business goals and finding the right partners that will help the organization over the course of 3-5 business years are the keys to achieving these long-term benefits.

    Learn more and read a previous article where Philippine healthcare IT leaders share their thoughts about hospital information systems on this link.

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    Philippine Hospitals HIS Adoption: Which Level Are You in?

    Philippine Hospitals HIS Adoption: Which Level Are You in? 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    This blog is the first in a series where we examine the state of HIS use among Philippine hospitals.

    Information systems in healthcare have evolved tremendously over the years. The use of some level of information management has become virtually indispensable among care providers, facilities, and health systems.  Around the world, the current pandemic has placed a spotlight on healthcare. It also set a level of scrutiny on how care is safely and efficiently provided. In this era, it generally involves the use of tools and IT systems.

    WHO states that what constitutes its importance is that, “such information systems serve multiple users and a wide array of purposes that can be summarized as the generation of information to enable decision-makers at all levels of the health system to identify problems and needs, make evidence-based decisions on health policy and allocate scarce resources optimally.”

    Health information systems are called upon to enable tracking along the continuum of inputs to the health system, from processes, outputs, as well as outcomes and impact. 

    Yet, owing to prohibitive costs and competing priorities, few developing countries have hospital and care facilities that have sufficiently strong and effective health information systems to meet all these diverse and important information needs.

    Like a growing enterprise, achieving a level of care system requires carefully thought out strategies. These involve starting with organizational objectives before even thinking about core features.  It also means assessing and building up support capabilities while considering the tools that will help lead the team towards its goal.

    Leading healthcare analytics company Health Catalyst, has brilliantly laid out a historical table that helps hospitals figure out which stage they are in their healthcare systems.

    • The main healthcare drivers in this era were Medicare and Medicaid. The IT drivers were expensive mainframes and storage. Because computers and storage were so large and expensive, hospitals typically shared a mainframe. Shared hospital accounting systems were the principal applications emerging in this environment.

    • One of the main healthcare drivers in this era was the need to do a better job communicating between departments (ADT, order communications, and results review) and the need for discrete departmental systems (e.g., clinical lab, pharmacy). The reduction of hardware size allowed the installation of computers in a single department without environmental controls. As a result, departmental systems proliferated. Unfortunately, these transactional systems, embedded in individual departments, were typically islands unto themselves.

    • Healthcare drivers were heavily tied to DRGs and reimbursement. For the first time, hospitals needed to pull significant information from both clinical and financial systems to be reimbursed. At the same time, personal computers, widespread, non-traditional software applications, and networking solutions entered the market. As a result, hospitals began integrating applications so financial and clinical systems could interact in a limited way.

    • In this decade, competition and consolidation drove healthcare, along with the need to integrate hospitals, providers, and managed care. From an IT perspective, hospitals now had access to broad, distributed computing systems and robust networks. Therefore, we created an integrated delivery network (IDN)-like integration, including the impetus to integrate data and reporting.

    • The main healthcare drivers were increased integration and the beginnings of outcomes-based reimbursement. We now had enough technology and bedside clinical applications installed to make a serious run at commercial, real-time clinical decision support.

    The information above gives us a concrete way to frame where most Philippine hospitals are in their hospital information systems journey — which more or less cuts and jumps through the different periods while also dependent on the level of and type of hospital organization (primary, secondary, tertiary and teaching) to which they belong.

    It is also good to point out that several factors mainly influence part of the adoption of these systems in local settings (approximating the following in order of importance):

    For the most part, Philippine hospitals were mostly using systems primarily supporting ADT and other operational requirements. While leading hospitals have blazed a trail of their own by benchmarking their systems globally, most had systems that were mostly siloed or islands among themselves.  Using paper, these hospitals barely even touch and encode clinical data. Such practice leaves doctors and care professionals to depend solely on their own competencies, sorting through paper medical records, and delivering successful outcomes against the growing complexities of providing care.

    But lately, things have been accelerating towards the adoption of better systems that require substantial clinical data because of government mandates related to DOH EMR compliance and Philhealth financial reimbursements.  

    Modern requirements subtly push Philippine hospitals to make use of electronic medical records for reporting statistics. Some of these include the renewal of licenses as well as providing correct clinical data to support claims reimbursements.  The outcome is multi-fold as this forces Philippine healthcare to shift from paper to electronic. It also promotes increased use of data in providing care and upgrade to systems that make better use of IT. Implementing these technologies will reduce manual errors and manage care complexities. Thus, leading to more team collaboration.

    So, can we say that the use of better hospital systems in the country is making progress?  Tell us what you think!

    In another article, we will discuss the available options for hospitals that aspire to step up in their healthcare proposition. As well as differentiate themselves against the competition using IT innovation.

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    Virtual Launch of the PhilHealth Registry of Newborns

    Virtual Launch of the PhilHealth Registry of Newborns 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    Nearly 350,000 babies are born prematurely in the Philippines each year, accounting for about two in 10 of all babies born. This urgent health crisis faced by our newborns heeds for raising awareness of preterm birth. That’s why on November 17 of every year, the Philippines is one in commemorating World Prematurity Day.

    As the country’s largest health insurance provider, PhilHealth moves a step forward in utilizing accurate data that will improve our vulnerable newborns’ care and health outcomes.

    Tomorrow, at 9 AM, PhilHealth will be hosting a webinar on its official Facebook pageTogether for Babies Born Too Soon: Caring for the Future highlights the virtual launch of the PhilHealth Registry of Newborns.

    With Telemed Acceptance, Let’s Get Back To Promoting Use of EMR

    With Telemed Acceptance, Let’s Get Back To Promoting Use of EMR 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    Like telemedicine, healthcare innovations promise a great deal of potential, but also present some profound challenges, at the top of which is increased fragmentation of care! Introducing once again, the overlooked EMRs!

    Back in 2011, tech giant, Google suffered one of its rare missteps with the shutdown of Google Health. While its new incarnation has been focused on AI, deep learning, and predictive analytics, the failure of its online personal health record system continue to remain neglected and dumbfounding despite the plausible reasons.

    Disparate and Incomplete, rejecting health maintenance

    The founder of EHR vendor Epic, Judy Faulkner, recently noted the surprising fact that only 0.5% of users are actually interested in managing their own health records, putting into question the usefulness of the patient portal. It’s possible that multiple disparate and siloed communications options add to the confusion and fragmentation. 

    Expectations are also changing as patients become accustomed to consumer experiences through other industries, such as eCommerce, banking, and retail. Like most people, patients crave the path of least resistance and demand the same from healthcare providers for convenience, relevance, and added value such as positive care experiences. Healthcare service is now not just about more staff but platforms that support patient engagements.

    The Cost of Fragmented Experiences 

    For the longest time, the financial cost of fragmented care seemed unquantifiable. But studies from Harvard have shown that high care fragmentation for chronically ill patients leads to $4,500 in higher healthcare spending, which can be $10,400 for those with the most fragmented care. 

    Moreover, the cost of fragmentation from a patient’s perspective is more than can be measured by a dollar figure. At best, it adds to the patient’s burden of medical care coordination. This stress along with a sick condition is a terrible situation that often leads to less effective care and poor outcomes as care transitions fail and multiple care professionals that fail to work as a team.

    Use EMRs Now.

    Based on necessity, acceptance of telemedicine and virtual consultations has never been higher. With the uncertainty of Covid, it doesn’t seem that physical consultations are coming back soon.

    But as far as technologies go, resolving the type of consults is not enough.

    Health records remain as the fundamental element for medical treatment and service. The more comprehensive the record, the more data can help guide the doctors towards evidence-based decisions. However, unlocking the promise of information will remain a pipe dream if records are still kept on paper.

    While the debate over interoperability remains unresolved, healthcare cannot simply wait and to decide on electronic medical records use. EMRs are way better than paper and easier to aggregate and keep for sharing among different providers especially when absolutely required. In theory, one can send this via email or share it through mobile devices. Security and privacy issues aside, completeness of health records is at the top of the list for the patient making care decisions and curbing unnecessary cost and waste. Ideally, one can look at the patient record providing longitudinal care history while acting as a central hub for all medical services and providers.

    Apart from the very reasons above, the importance of getting real (or near-real) time data cannot succeed without a suitable electronic format. In the high-stakes game of epic global infections, the need for credible and timely data is a valuable means of controlling the spread and dictating strategy.

    There are care professionals and medical institutions that believe they could still afford to hold back on the use of EMRs for a variety of reasons. The truth is that the survival of millions is now at stake and time is ripe for people everywhere to change their perception of healthcare from temporary discomforts to a valued preoccupation where medical data is as valuable a currency as the cure. Because otherwise, we will all have to pay the price and hopefully, not with our lives.

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    Digital Health Is Inevitable

    Digital Health Is Inevitable 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    Like most businesses, the strategies adopted by hospitals and clinics seem self-serving.  Yet oftentimes, the one that successfully brings a good business return in investment, are those that put the customer both front and center. Despite reluctance, digital health is one of those strategies that will greatly empower patients and drive innovations as well.

    Improving healthcare access remains elusive and the Covid pandemic has made it even more difficult. The demand for care services is unlikely to dip.  For healthcare providers, adopting innovative strategies like standardized digital practices can create efficiencies and improve service deliveries that will lead to savings which could help drive costs and make care more affordable. 

    As if to belabor the point on the fragmentation that has long plagued healthcare, Reddy, and Jannsens write, “the Covid-19 crisis has prepared the ground for widespread adoption of digital healthcare solutions” that requires a fundamental rethinking in the use of digital platforms around key themes that include:

        • Information transparency.  The use of health registries to create a single source of truths for all stakeholders especially the patient reduces administrative burden as well as to enjoin patients in managing their medical care proactively.
        • Interoperability.  Holistic not siloed. Disparate patient records will remain an age-old problem as long as records remain in paper making collaboration and standardization of care difficult and costly. 
        • Claims processing.  One word. Fraud. Transparent systems that support faster validation make a whole world of difference for the operations of care providers.
        • Change from episodic to wellness-oriented care; from service-based to value-based healthcare.  These two healthcare ideals deserve an article of their own but to simplify, these are about preventive health maintenance (prevention cost way less than cure) and results-based care incentives (better, not unguaranteed, care outcomes)  both of which disrupt the payment model.

    Overall, digital platforms will change care delivery models, like how telemedicine has abruptly transformed the patient visit.  The world is looking at unprecedented change caused by this pandemic and healthcare players will have important decisions to make if they are to survive, thrive, or perish in this new normal.

    https://www.financialexpress.com/opinion/digital-health-mission-a-200-billion-opportunity-ndhm-will-greatly-empower-patients/2095337/

    Check Out MERX Compliant

    Looking for a new clinic or hospital information system? Our MERX Compliant includes an online patient portal for appointments and patient management of records and Rx, a telemedicine module with integrated EMR, with built-in Philhealth eClaims module.  Learn more about it here.

    The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare

    The Next-Level Gameplay in Healthcare 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    The healthcare industry is experiencing an immense paradigm shift as the world battles against the global health crisis.

    Such turn of tides pressed health institutions and other concerned parties to rethink how they will carry out their duties, both to achieve more efficient outcomes and to curtail the spread of the unseen virus. In Asia alone, governments are implementing measures differing from one another, which results in contrasting ramifications, both successful and unsuccessful.

    The Philippines’ Department of Health recently issued the Administrative Order 2020-037 or the Guidelines on Implementation of Local Health Systems Maturity LevelsThe order aims to provide local health units with a health information management system that can support the needs of all health care providers in the Philippines during and even post-pandemic. Among the maturity indicators is an EMR system integrated with a telemedicine service.

    An account wherein a person snip-snaps on the idea of consulting to a medical professional during this dire time in the health sector is not an untold tale. The pandemic sparked fear of going outside the house, more so, of going to health facilities possibly packed with infectious pathogens.

    Virtual visits through telemedicine should now be an option, especially for patients with chronic diseases and those living with immuno-compromised individuals, babies, or senior citizens. Moreover, telemedicine also helps with real-time tracking and monitoring of possible asymptomatic virus carriers.

    According to healthcareitnews.com, nearly 80% of cardiology, gastroenterology, pulmonology, and respiratory physicians said that their use of virtual care technology had increased during the pandemic. More than half of which are not using telemedicine before the crisis. Furthermore, more than three-quarters of them said they would continue to use virtual care technology in the future.

    The above data clearly shows how COVID heightened the demand for telemedicine services and will continue to support healthcare providers beyond the pandemic. It delivered on its promise of reducing person-to-person transmission, relieving the burden of the overworked care providers, and providing easier access to quality healthcare for patients who cannot meet their respective physicians.

    Different countries around the globe have seen how telemedicine can help in reducing the threat/effects of COVID. Indonesia, for example, declared a shortage of protective gears and medical practitioners, with only three (3) doctors for every 10,000 Indonesians, and limited healthcare facilities. The government of Indonesia then directed its citizens to telehealth firms who can offer verified medical guidance, provide consultations via telephone or text, and prescribe medications and have them delivered to the patients who need them.

    Vietnam, one of the few Asian countries to manage the COVID threat, also launched its first official telemedicine application as part of its valuable tools/gears in fighting the pandemic.

    These case studies show how technology, particularly telemedicine, serves an important role in the global health battle. It is no longer just a band-aid solution but an inevitable future, that although in-person visits have their fair share of benefits, embedding telemedicine as an integral part of healthcare is a must-have level up – an upgrade that all care providers must consider.

     

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    What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages

    What You Need to Know: Telemedicine Benefits and Disadvantages 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    If you are not aware yet, the practice of medicine is in the midst of a reckoning forced by a global pandemic with every response designed to reduce the risk of viral transmission. While telemedicine has been around for quite some time, only now has it become less of an option but more of mandatory service. Read below to learn more about the benefits and disadvantages of telemedicine for patients as well as providers.

    Telemedicine, or telehealth, is medical care that you can receive digitally often via video conferencing that replaces seeing a doctor in person.

    Benefits to Patients 

        • Convenience and Access: The benefits of telemedicine include reducing geographic barriers, improving access to care, cutting down on travel time, and preventing the spread of illness. Even if you live near a doctor, telemedicine can be more convenient than traditional office visits. It eliminates travel time, cuts down on waiting rooms, and allows for more flexible scheduling outside of regular office hours. Telemedicine improves access to medical care especially those with limited mobility, such as people with a spinal cord injury or neuromuscular disorders.
        • Prevents the spread of infection or illness: More people are opting to use telehealth services now because it limits potential exposure to infection. This can be especially useful for those who are considered high risk, like the elderly population or people with pre-existing medical conditions
        • Telemedicine allows for easy management of chronic illness: With remote patient monitoring, some chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can be more easily managed. For example, some patients can use at-home devices – like blood pressure cuffs, digital scales, and blood glucose monitors – to record vital data that can be digitally transferred to your doctor.

    Benefits for healthcare providers

        • Keeps business of providing medical care in business: It’s not just the commercial establishments that are bearing the brunt of a business downturn during the pandemic. Even care institutions are negatively affected by COVID19.  Having to deal with the surge in patients in reference to the adequacy of personnel is well documented. But other than treating infection cases, the need for other medical specializations services plummeted.  Telemedicine enables these providers to continue the medical practice. Providers who offer telemedicine services may incur fewer overhead costs. For example, they may pay less for front desk support or be able to invest in an office space with fewer exam rooms.
        • Additional revenue stream: Clinicians may find that telemedicine supplements their income because it allows them to provide care to more patients.
        • Less exposure to illness and infections: When providers see patients remotely, they do not have to worry about exposure to any pathogens the patient may carry.

    However, telehealth can’t completely replace in-person visits for chronic or special medical conditions. Someone with diabetes will still need an annual in-person eye exam and patients who just had surgery will need to be personally seen to check for progress.

    Telemedicine has limitations and may not suit every person or situation. Compared to traditional care methods, a doctor cannot “feel” the patient (think abdominal examination), which is why traditional office visits must not be abandoned, but rather supplemented through telemedicine.

    The following sections look at some disadvantages for patients and healthcare providers.

    Disadvantages for patients

    Not all patients can be a good fit for telemedicine. Some drawbacks of this include:

        • Securing medical data: Increased chances of hackers and other criminals to be able to access a patient’s medical data, especially if the patient accesses telemedicine on a public network or via an unencrypted channel.
        • Urgent Care delays: When a person needs emergency care, accessing telemedicine first may delay treatment, particularly since a doctor cannot provide life-saving care or laboratory tests digitally.

    Disadvantages for healthcare providers

    Healthcare providers may also face some drawbacks associated with telemedicine, including:

        • Technological issues: Finding the right digital platform to use can be challenging. Also, a weak connection can make it difficult to offer quality care. Clinicians must also ensure that the telemedicine program they use is secure and fully compliant with privacy laws.
        • An inability to examine patients: Providers must rely on patient self-reports during telemedicine sessions. This may require clinicians to ask more questions to ensure that they get a comprehensive health history. If a patient leaves out an important symptom that might have been noticeable during in-person care, this can compromise treatment.

    Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/telemedicine-benefits#disadvantages

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    Telemedicine is House Call 2.0

    Telemedicine is House Call 2.0 768 487 Exist Software Labs

    It used to be that doctors were the ones doing the consult visits and by the patient bedside performing a medical consultation.  In modern times, these were replaced with the patient’s going to doctors’ offices and interaction was now happening across the desk. Factoring infection risks and patient comfort, telemedicine provides a necessary alternative — one which may soon become the norm.

    The trip to the doctor, a rather uneasy experience for most people, suddenly turns to be a thing of the past.  The threat of COVID has put everyone on alert that even periodic out-patient visits have to be second-guessed in light of the risks. Unsustainability and population growth have put an end to doctors doing house calls in the same way that the threat of infection prevents people from showing up in clinics or hospitals.

    Regardless of one’s attitude towards the use of technology, it is without a doubt that it has been part and parcel of the way that the practice of medicine continues to evolve.   Lab equipment and imaging machines aside, medicine and technology go hand in hand and would continue to do so. Right now, it teams up once again to bring the patient and the doctor together via a screen display.

    While there are certain situations where a personal visit is warranted, the use of telemedicine presents a valuable tool in limiting the risks, especially in today’s pandemic.  Though talking to a screen would seem to replace the warmth of face-to-face interaction, the cold reality is that telemedicine provides each participant with a level of comfort by being in familiar surroundings.  Truth be told, it is probably not telemedicine that makes this interaction awkward because talking virtually with friends is certainly something most of us would look forward to.

    Whether face to face or virtual, logic dictates that people heighten their guards when discussing serious topics, and talking about a health issue does fit into that category.  A smoker would certainly feel less comfortable being visited in his home by his pulmonologist because it exposes the reality that despite the advice, evidence at home would probably present more of an embarrassment.  For years, the privacy of a doctor’s office serves the patient more than the doctor.  Using telemedicine, a peek into the patient’s environment seems possible – which yields more valuable information (eg. senior citizens and home hazards like stairs, etc.) but only for those patients who have developed stronger relationships with their providers.

    “In essence, COVID-19 has allowed us to lower our psychological barriers to the adoption of technology,” Professor Vishall Ahuja says. “All of a sudden, we realize we’re not as inflexible as we thought we were. We’re not as tech-adverse as we were. Necessity is the mother of invention.”

     

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