During this global crsis of COVID-19, telemedicine has emerged as an effective and sustainable solution for precaution, prevention and treatment minimize the spread of COVID-19. Telehealth is an innovative and valuable mechanism which is mending gaps between people, doctors and health systems. It is cost effective and time saving service access for promoting patient wellness and population health.
History takes us back to the age of Alexander Graham Bell,when the world’s first telephone call made by him on March 10, 1876 was actually a request for medical help. “Watson, come here I want you,” he said after acid from a Leclanche cell fell on his hand. This platform of telemdicine is growing ever since and has advanced into modern technologies through not only audio aids but also video and other social media groups. This virtual digital healthcare is the roadmap for improved medical care. However,there are unique challenges on this road of telehealthcare.
Telemedicine is demanding at both ends including patients and as well as clinician. The advisory suggest few tips to the professionals and patients to benefit equally from tele-consulatations
In the Hippocratic text titled Decorum, doctors are instructed to “dress decorous and simple, not over-elaborated, but aiming rather at good repute, and adapted for contemplation, introspection and walking”. The essence of decorum reflects the neatness, professional demeanor and vitality of the practioner. One thing that distinguishes the doctor from the patient in this encounter is appearance.
To maintain the decorum and ethics at telehealthcare is the need of an hour. On 12th May 2020, the Board of Governors, Medical Council of India with the previous sanction of the Central Government of India, passed new regulations called “Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) (Amendment) Regulations, 2020”. These regulations and guidelines incorporate the practical framework and has tried to address the current need and significance of telemedicine during coronavirus.
There is a growing body of evidence suggestive of patient’s perception of a doctor’s character influences health outcomes. Patients are more likely to be satisfied and honest with doctors on the basis of their outlook. Displays of empathy, trust , good code of conduct have shown better outcomes in patients struggling with conditions including depression, obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc. Doctor’s consultations have a placebo effect on patients.
It is well said by William Osler “ A good physician treats the disease; A great physician treats the patient with the disease”. In the current scenario, lets pump our syringes with compassion , empathy, decorum and ethics to deliver quality care to our patients through telemedicine.