PARIS | In a few weeks, the pandemic COVID-19 has given a boost to around the world in the development of telemedicine, medicine exerted at a distance through the use of new technologies.
Such a leap would have taken years to occur in normal times. The containment of the half of humanity and the fear of transmitting the virus SARS-CoV-2 boosted the medical consultations by video app and by mobile phone.
Mutations the most radical concerned the medical practitioner, where the caregivers were themselves often face shortages of protective equipment.
“Medicine in general has undergone significant changes in the way the doctors and the teams have supported the patients during the epidemic. The rapidity with which these changes have been made has been remarkable, ” confirmed to AFP Martin Marshall, president of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the british organization of general practitioners.
As the epidemic progressed, national rules have been adapted or extended in many countries to allow the generalisation of consultations at a distance.
In France, then as tele-consultations, reimbursed by social Security since the end of 2018, struggled to take off, the epidemic of coronavirus has given him a huge boost : the weekly number of tele-consultation dropped from 10 000 acts per week at the beginning of march to nearly one million in mid-may, after a peak of 1.1 million in the second week of April.
According to the health Insurance, the pace has not waned after the end of the confinement, the tele-consultation to reduce some of the wait times in medical offices, stretched because of the hygiene measures and delays accumulated during the confinement.
In the United States of restrictions on access to tele-consultation have been removed, as well as certain rules of data protection.
According to Layla McCay of the NHS Confederation, a body linked to the public health system in the uk, most of the 1.2 million daily consultations for basic health care has been carried out remotely when the containment in the United Kingdom and this change has occurred “in the space of a few weeks” only.
“A disaster “
This revolution has not been without a few false notes. “My first session of video viewing has been a disaster. Workers pierced a hole, the micro has crashed, a colleague burst into the room, ” recalls Camille Gajria, doctor and teacher at the Imperial College of London (remarks reported by the British Medical Journal, BMJ).
A teleconsultation can be effective, but it is necessary to be attentive to the ” cognitive bias “, to the errors of interpretation which can easily be the result of a video-consultation, ” she says.
The crisis of the sars coronavirus has given a new impetus to the telemedicine in India that does that 8.6 health professionals per 10 000 inhabitants (a figure WHO, 2018) and that the physicians are concentrated in the city, while 70% of the population lives in the countryside.
Ayush Mishra, founder of the business of telemedicine Tattvan, explains that the epidemic convinced the government to relax the rules governing the tele-consultation.
The entrepreneur, who lost a leg in a motorcycle accident lack of appropriate care and fast, hope to be able to quickly multiply its centres of tele-consultations across the country, today the number of 18.
Ayush Mishra would like to expand access to health care to the greatest number of Indians who live far from large urban centres. “It is necessary to be able to offer this access, it is a fundamental right “, he explains to AFP.
Even if the internet-connected devices (thermometers, blood pressure gauges, etc) to facilitate remote consultations, many gestures will not be able to accomplish only in the physical presence of the patient and the consultation, the more complex will never be able to be done remotely, says Martin Marshall.
But the fold of telemedicine has been taken, ” says Layla McCay. “Our members tell us in feedback that their culture has changed fundamentally. Doctors who, before, were, perhaps, reluctant to scanning are now realizing the benefits they can get from it. You may not make back machine “.