Sunday, December 11, 2011

Skyping the doctor?

from w
An article in today's Geelong Advertiser announces that in the future some consultations between doctor and patient will be on-line. That is amazing and of course not the preferred model as the interaction between persons face to face surely is the best way. We get along very well with our local doctors who have been excellent in dealing with family health problems. In Australia Medicare is an absolute blessing as consultations, xrays, etc. are often free.

I think the idea of on on-line consultation comes from the need for sick people in remote communities far away from the specialists in the cities to access medical advice. It certainly would save long trips and the need for overnight accommodation, but it will just be talking it seems not touch and feel the broken bones and so on.

VPush for online docs
Peter Farago | December 12th, 2011

PATIENTS in the region could gain quicker access to medical specialists under a $375,000 bid by Geelong doctors to establish online video consultations.

Barwon Medical Local, formerly the Geelong GP Association, has made a submission to a federal government program to support the region's medical workforce making online consultations with patients a part of everyday business.

Chief executive Jason Trethowan said the project would help patients in rural areas and would give Geelong remote access to medical specialists.

"The region has had great success in connecting health professionals to share patient information online but online video consultations puts the patient in the centre of the consultation between two health professionals involved in their care," he said.

"Online video consultations will be used in areas where a GP, with their patient, can connect online with another medical specialist. This can reduce unnecessary travel for patients and help streamline more accessible specialist care." Mr Trethowan said it could also reduce waiting times to access specialists. "Examples where this may occur are in areas where the distance to get to a medical specialist is a barrier to accessing the required care or when the GP requires a patient in a residential aged care facility to have a relevant medical specialist opinion," he said.

Funding will help prepare relevant health professionals and their patients through education, training and the process to schedule the online consultation.

The funding request comes after doctors at Barwon Health recently said the National Broadband Network will transform the way they practise medicine.

Medical services clinical director Dr Paul Talman said specialist doctors in Geelong will be able to use the NBN to consult with patients in remote areas, quicker and more efficiently than ever before. "Health is going to be practised differently in the future because of this technology it's going to revolutionise medicine," he said.
Another thing of course is that patients who have internet access can look up so much information about their illnesses and problems - too much info of course and much may be unreliable - so that patients can out-do their medical advisers with facts and fictions!

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