The Cons Of Telemedicine
The disadvantages, especially for pediatrics, is the inability to diagnose certain ailments like an ear infection, strep throat or urinary tract infection with any certainty. (Although I do think technology and tools will decrease these barriers in the near future.)
This was my hesitation initially, how do I give the best care without actually touching the patient and seeing them face to face?
The Case For Telemedicine
So let me share with you my reasons for wanting a telehealth practice even pre-covid!
I get phone calls about once or twice a week from friends asking me for advice about their kids. These were mostly quick questions that I could help with and I was happy to do so, but that made me think.
What if you don’t have a friend that’s a pediatrician? And where are those people getting their questions answered?
I knew there was a need for a quick and easy way for parents to get their questions answered by a reliable source. And I also truly love being able to guide and counsel parents. I love talking to parents about the exciting milestones to come, how to discipline, how to potty train, sleep train, etc. But in the modern era of medicine this was becoming increasingly more difficult.
Giving Patients what they need
The standard patient visit is 10 minutes long. And they are often double booked. Once a patient is escorted into a room and the specific reason for the visit is addressed, there is no more time for counseling. There is no more time for parents to share their fears. Or for me to take the time to reassure them.
As a pediatrician and a mom this was extremely upsetting to me. With a telemedicine visit I could take as much time as needed to counsel parents and give advice, there was not a roomful of sick patients in the waiting room.
Lastly, shit happens! Kids can get into all kinds of trouble and it’s usually after hours! If your child bumps his head, hurts a limb, has an earache or high fever after five…what are the options? You may or may not be able to talk to a physician on call. They may have a call service?
Not all bumps/bruises/falls need to be seen right away, not all ear aches need antibiotics but at the same time if you do need to be seen is it better to go to an Emergency Room or an Urgent Care? This was another area that I felt my service could be very helpful. If I could get a family through the night without having to go to the Emergency Room, that’s a visit well worth it in so many ways!