Video Consultations with Specialists Aid Treatment
Posted on January 19, 2012 by Aoife Manahan
With the announcement of further budget cuts in the Irish Health Service funding, healthcare professionals will need to adapt to a rapidly changing work environment in order to maintain current levels of patient care. So what role might new technology play in facilitating collaboration between primary and secondary care and indeed, between secondary care specialists?
The Archives of Dermatology this month published a study on ‘teledermatology’ – the use of video conferencing to allow a primary care physician to ‘remote consult’ with a dermatologist. The Californian research showed that after a live video consultation with a specialist almost every patient previously evaluated by the primary care doctor had a change in their diagnosis or treatment. Interestingly this strategy also improves patient outcomes. In a smaller group of 313 patients who had multiple teledermatology consults in a single year, patients were twice as likely to see improvement in their skin condition.
This virtual collaboration is commonly used by the military for deployed soldiers. However in a ‘streamlining’ healthcare system, it is clear how this concept might have wider applications.