In a world full of constantly blossoming attractions and distractions that grant instant gratification, it's more important than ever to keep your guard up against tempting new experiences. When considering the utilization of new technologies, there are certain questions you should ask in order to confidently keep your best interests in mind. Below we walk you through what to look for to identify a reliable telemedicine provider.
Around the world, telemedicine services are on the rise. As more companies and services come into the market, consumers are likely to be confused about what exactly the various services actually offer, and, as a result, patient safety could be compromised.
RingMD’s core mission is to make quality and affordable healthcare accessible to all. The key is to safeguard quality. We do not compromise on quality in order to improve affordability. Neither should you. I wrote this article in order to help people understand the different services available and help them understand how they can utilize these technologies safely.
What are the different types of virtual care services?
Telemedicine is simply the use of information communications technology (e.g. audio/ video/ text) to facilitate communication between patient and healthcare providers. The technology can also be used to facilitate communication among healthcare professionals as well.
In the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) National Telemedicine Guidelines (NTG), these services are classified into 4 main categories - Telecollaboration, Teletreatment, Telemonitoring, Telesupport.
It is not necessary for a patient to understand the 4 different types. Rather, what is important for patients to understand is how to use the technology properly, and how it influences their medical care.
Currently, there are two main offerings by virtual care companies:
- consultation for acute conditions
- chronic disease management
- Always be clear about what the service can or cannot help you with. A good teleconsultation provider will always state what they can reasonably provide and the conditions they can or cannot help with. E.g. if you are looking for medication for your condition, make sure that they are able to provide you with the medication.
- Always ask the doctor how to manage your condition and what to look out for.
- If you feel uncomfortable with a teleconsultation at any point, you can always request to end the consultation or cancel the pending request for a consult.
- If you are required to measure your own vitals, make sure that the equipment you have is certified by the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) and you are properly trained to use the equipment.
- You should have a copy of your measurements and be able to track your own performance over time.
- If you wish to stop the service, the provider should refer you to another provider that can continue your care.
- If there is a prescription delivery service, always check the contents of the package before signing for it. You should do this whenever you receive medicine, no matter if you're at the doctor's clinic or pharmacy. You want to make sure you’re taking exactly what the doctor ordered.
- A general rule of thumb is that the flow of the service should resemble an in-person visit. The service provider should collect your information and brief you on what to expect. They should only proceed after getting your consent to do so.
- The service provider should be asking for your feedback periodically.
- The service provider should place your safety above all else!
The bottom line
Virtual care can be a great tool in making healthcare more accessible. Patients have to be mindful of this new channel of healthcare because new players who come into this space might not have well-developed protocols to ensure the safety of their patients.
As with any other healthcare decision, only engage in a service when you are confident of the standard of delivery. With the few tips above, you can defend yourself against operators that provide sub-standard virtual services. If you have any further questions about telemedicine or any specific inquiry about RingMD’s services, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
Wishing you health and happiness!
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