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Because of the impact that COVID 19 has had on all aspects of our lives, there has been a rise in the number of doctor’s consultations that are being performed remotely – either over the telephone or via the Internet on a video call. In April 2020 just 30 percent of doctors' appointments were door face to face, whereas the year before that it was some 80 percent. This goes to show just how much behaviors have changed in a relatively short space of time. It is of the general consensus that this trend will stick, even when the pandemic subsides, as it comes under the NHS’ digital revolution program.
In a world where people are becoming increasingly time-poor, the idea of having to schedule an appointment for a time that fits around work and family life can be hard work. You then have to take time out to physically get to and from your doctors – for many people, this is simply not practical. Remote doctors consultations remove all of these stresses so that patients are able to dedicate the little free time they have to get their health problem fixed and can be quickly booked online. Open this page to schedule your own remote consultation.
When a doctor takes on a new patient and is required to make a diagnosis or even just to simply provide advice on their medical issue an in-depth physical examination is required so that they are able to ascertain exactly what the source of the problem is. In these such instances, there is no way around a face-to-face consultation. However, any future appointments that are scheduled off the back of this can easily be done remotely over the telephone or via a video call.
Because around 90 percent of diagnoses are able to be made solely based on a patient’s medical history alone, it goes to show that although there will always be a place for physical examinations, they may not be as important as one may think, especially in some certain circumstances. Therefore, there needs to be a real push by the NHS onto both student doctors and those ones currently practicing on taking a good quality, detailed medical history notes.
Where a patient has clinical needs that are particularly complex, then it is likely from the risk assessment that is conducted by the doctor that the patient requires a face-to-face consultation. This is because it can be difficult to accurately impart all of the information that the patient requires in order to make an informed decision about how to proceed with his or her treatment.
It is also the case that in those instances where a doctor does not have access to a patient’s records or where the patient’s capacity is lacking or is uncertain that a remote appointment is not suitable. In essence, where a patient has a medical condition that is chronic but stable, they are suitable for telephone or video call consultations. However, for those patients with serious acute illnesses that need treatment urgently, then they are likely to not be suitable.