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Though telemedicine was growing steadily and silently for some years now, many people did not prefer this. Most patients were also more comfortable with a face-to-face approach. But now, it has suddenly become the ideal way of consulting a doctor since the beginning of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the global health crisis, it is no longer safe to visit hospitals and clinics. Telemedicine provided a way out for both doctors and patients during the lockdown too. Today, on the occasion of National Doctors' Day, Dr. Sandeep Budhiraja, Group Medical Director Max Healthcare & Senior Director - Institute of Internal Medicine shares his views on how to help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition better in the era of teleconsultation in the video here.
Today, there are so many advances made in digital infrastructure that it is quite possible that this way of consulting a physician may become a part of our life even after the COVID-19 crisis is over. There are many apps in the market today that also make traditional doctor's equipment, like the stethoscope, obsolete.
According to Dr. Partap Chauhan, Director, Jiva Ayurveda, "Tele-consulting with a doctor isn't vastly different from consulting a doctor face-to-face physically. The dynamics of your interaction still remains the same. Remember, the doctor asks, and you answer. But to make the most of your tele-consultation, ask a few questions." He further adds that instead of focusing on 'how quick the doctor can treat your disease', focus on 'what you can do to make the treatment more effective and faster'. "Ask what I can do that will make the treatment more effective," he says.
On the occasion of National Doctors' Day today, let us look at the future of medical consultations and how you can help your doctor serve you better via teleconsultation.
Decide beforehand what device you use for your teleconsultation. Once you have decided on whether you want to use your phone, tab or laptop, ensure that your internet connection is uninterrupted. If you have to download any app for the consultation, do so well in advance. Sometimes, you may have to create an account to use an app. This is a new concept and the technology may confuse you in the beginning. That is why you need to be prepared with these things before your appointment.
Padma Shri Awardee, DR KK Agarwal, Sr Physician and Lifestyle Interventional Cardiologist, says, "The first consultation must be on video or personal because a telephonic consultation does not give you an established relationship. But for a second opinion, face to face meeting is not required because you already have all your reports with you, and you know other doctor's opinion."
Sit in a well-lit room that offers privacy. This will help you communicate your problem better to your doctor. You can't very well try to explain to your doctor your health problems in the middle of a ruckus. You need privacy for this. This will help your doctor hear you better, offer a proper diagnosis and offer a solution to your problem.
This is very important. To save time and get the most out of this appointment, you need to have your accurate medical history with you during the consultation. In some cases, you may also receive a call from your doctor's clinic requesting you to upload some details before your appointment.
According to Dr Rajesh Kumar, Founder and Director UDGAM A Mental Healthcare & Rehabilitation Centre Consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist at MAX Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi, a patient should send their previous medical records including investigations, treatment in advance to doctors. Wherever possible, a patient should prepare a chart of vitals like pulse, BP, temperature, blood sugar level, etc. and have these handy during the appointment. This will save time and your doctor will be in a better position to evaluate you.
Dr. Partap Chauhan says that you must always be prepared to answer all of the doctor's questions. Ayurvedic diagnosis works on the principle of 'Prashn Pariksha', which means diagnosis by query, so being truthful and clear in your answers helps your doctor diagnose correctly. He says, "Be open about your concerns. In case the doctor advises you to begin a new health regimen that you see affecting your way of life, discuss it and find an alternative. Be flexible and be open to change that will help you become healthier. Your doctor must have treated many cases that are similar to your's. But it is always a good idea to gently ask the doctor what he or she thinks about your case in particular. This gives your doctor the opportunity to set your expectations regarding your treatment," he adds.
Telemedicine is a new concept and many people may find it confusing and difficult to relate to. You may come prepared with a list of questions. But you may not remember it all. So, it is best to write down all your queries and doubts. This way you will be able to get the most out of your teleconsultation and your doctor will be able to give you his best too.
According to Dr Tushar Tayal, Consultant, Internal Medicine, CK Birla Hospital, Gurgaon, "One must understand that an online consult is not a substitute for physical consult. Once you have done the online consultation, you must take the medicine for a specified period, whatever has been prescribed, and if you feel the medicines are not working for you, you must visit the doctor in person."
He goes on to say that patient must be "precise and specific" about whatever issues you are facing and try not to repeat the same things again and again. This will save time. "Inform the doctor about any drug allergies and medications that you are already taking and have all your records handy," he says.
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