Here you’ll get to know some questions to consider while choosing a telemedicine provider. But first, lets start with the basics.
Telemedicine is the practice of giving medical advice and support over telephonic means such as calls and videos. In a nutshell, it is when medicine and doctor-based services are provided by means other than a physical meeting. These services have been present for a long time but have gained immense momentum over the last few months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
This has made these services not only more needed but better received by the patients and their families. This emotion and need multiply manifold when it comes to healthcare for the children. This is driven by two factors: the importance of health at the primary level for a child, and the need to keep the children safe from stepping out in these times. That being said, just like you cannot choose a doctor for your child without some parameters checked, choosing a telemedicine practitioner involves asking the right questions.
Read Also: Benefits of Virtual Pediatric Care
Let us see some of the questions you must ask before selecting a telemedicine provider for your child.
How are appointments given?
One of the first things you need to know is how to book an appointment with this telemedicine provider and how they choose to allot appointment times or options to the parents. This may seem irrelevant, but you will know that this will become crucial when you need advice urgently, or based on fixed times, you may be free.
The mode and time of appointment also tell you the professionalism of the person as well as their commitment to the cause. A haphazard schedule or no scope of catering to emergencies means this service may be more detrimental to the child than helpful.
What are the specializations?
No telemedicine provider covers any and all areas of a child’s health. While pediatricians generally cover a large scale of health matters, there are always limitations to the same. This becomes important and crucial to know to understand which aspects of child healthcare would be covered here.
It goes a long way in the decision making as you would like to choose a telemedicine provider that gives you the most coverage in terms of advice and healthcare. It is also essential so that you know what exceptions you need to find alternatives for.
It is nearly no use if you call this particular provider when faced with an emergency, and they tell you that this is not something they specialize in. In the time of need, such confusion may be extremely detrimental to the child.
Read Also: Advantages of Telehealth for Patients
Scope of Telemedicine Provider
It is important not to confuse the scope of telemedicine with the scope of the practitioner. Here one needs to understand that not all aspects of health care, especially that of a child, can be covered through the means of telemedicine.
There are many cases where the child will need to be taken to a doctor or a medical practitioner physically. While we hope no such situations arise, it cannot be discounted as a thought when making such decisions.
For parents with children who need constant medical attention in a long or short period of time, this becomes even more crucial. While telemedicine may tell them what may help in day-to-day decision-making and understanding, more significant issues may need a physical visit.
If you believe or understand that the issue at hand is something that cannot be covered by the scope of telemedicine then it is best that you choose to find a health care provider that will help you in the form that you need rather than spending time and money on a system which is not beneficial for you and your children.
What is the experience of telemedicine provider?
Many medical practitioners and pediatricians have shifted to the form of telemarketing, especially in Corona times. This may make choosing the right practitioner more difficult for a parent, as there are many options available.
What they need to see and a question that definitely needs to be asked is what experience the practitioner has in terms of providing telemedicine. Understand that everybody who is an excellent medical practitioner in the physical form may not be a great telemedicine practitioner as well. This is due to the fact that other skills also come into play here. It is best to have this question answered and weighed in when choosing the right telemedicine practitioner for your child.
Medium of consulting
This may sound like a very obvious question to a parent or someone technologically well-adapted, but it may be the defining question to many. Imagine yourself as a parent who cannot have quality access to video calling service at any chosen point of time. If your telemedicine practitioner only consults on videos, this could mean trouble for you.
Keeping this in mind, you must ask what the mode of consulting is for the person. This must undoubtedly match with what you can and want to do, and only then must the provider be finalized.
Telemedicine has many other benefits apart from the obvious ones already stated. Under the ideal circumstances, the cost of transportation, office space, electricity, and many other such logistic costs reduced for them could mean the telemedicine provider would be much less expensive than a physical doctor. This being said, it can be countered by the idea that a telemedicine provider must understand and deduce more on a virtual system than is possible for them or what has been known to be possible for them. This may increase the cost.
Apart from this, it would be best if you also considered the benefit that comes from the lack of commuting. It saves the child unnecessary discomfort. In sickness, that must come from visiting the doctor’s place. The child is much more likely to be more pleased with the consulting virtually than physically anyway.
One more benefit that comes is the time of the whole process, which is substantially reduced from having to wait for your turn in waiting rooms etc.
To best judge which telemedicine practitioner to choose, you must seek the answers to such questions that will help you decide where the most benefits lie.
Moving to physical check-ups
Last but certainly not least is the question that you need to ask your practitioner in certainty. For most parents, the idea of telemedicine is limited to the pandemic or to specific situations beyond it. Most people, not just parents, feel much more comfortable meeting their doctor in person. Setting up with a telemedicine practitioner as your child’s pediatrician could well be a long-term commitment if worked well.
You need to ask the person if they would be willing to continue being the healthcare provider for your child once the pandemic is over. This works for the benefit of your child, too, as they would have established a connection with the person and will not have to start fresh.
This is a double-edged sword, though. Any practitioner who is willing to do this must be intrinsically more trustworthy for you to transition into this.
Keeping all the above in mind and asking these questions of them and yourself will help you choose the right person for your children to help them when needed. Make sure none of these are overlooked by you.