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The Effective Use of Online Healthcare Services Assignment Sample

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The Effective Use of Online Healthcare Services Assignment Sample

Introduction.

Virtual online consultation is emerging as a method to treat the patients without actual interaction with them. The patients can communicate the clinicians through mediums such as online portals, telephone, emails, etc. In the current COVID-19 situation the need for improvement in online consultation has increased (Calton et.al, 2020). This report analyses the different perspectives of online consultations. The appropriate model of communication that should be adopted by the healthcare provider will be discussed. Every invention has its pros and cons, the advantages and disadvantages of online-consultations will be discussed. Lastly, the report will analyze the benefits of e-consultation for a particular group of patients and whether online consultation can completely replace face-to-face consultation would be analyzed.

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COVID-19 pandemic situation around the globe has caused many problems in different businesses. A major problem has arisen in the Healthcare sector regarding consultations and treatment (Calton et.al, 2020).  It is not appropriate for the patients as well the doctors to step out of the home and conduct face-to-face appointments in every case as this can cause infection to grow. Thus, the requirement for online consultation has increased. Technology plays an important role in conducting online consultation as effective communication is a prerequisite for the consultations to be appropriate and successful (Foronda, et al., 2016). A local healthcare provider with the idea to invest in the technology for online consultation must use aninteractive model of communication because the model is a model explaining two-way communication between the sender and receiver for the effective communication (Lisbeth, 2015).

Sender/Receiver: clinicians and patients are the senders as well as a receiver as the communication is two way.

Code: The symbols or method used for communication such as graphs, medical reports, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

Noise: Technical faults in the telephone lines, network issues, etc can cause a communication barrier.

Channels for the communication can be multiple such as discussed below.

Telephone: this would be the easiest channel for the patients as well as clinicians to connect for consultation, prescription, and treatment (Lisbeth, 2015). Multiple telephone lines must be available as the number of patients is large and the number of doctors is less. Thus, the waiting can impact the customer's satisfaction.

Email: It is considered a professional, safe, and easy channel for communication. The clinicians can respond to emails with pre-described templates designed according to the symptoms of the patients as described in their email. A standard protocol for an email consultation should be designed for effective and fast communication (Foronda, et al., 2016).

Video-conferencing: According to the research, video calls are less preferred when the doctors and patents are interacting for the first time, and easily preferred when they are known to each other. The effectiveness of video conferencing is higher than other channels as clinicians can view the symptoms and prescribe the best treatments.

Text messaging: There are various mediums for text messaging that easily available. The application for text messaging also allows the transfer of pictures, videos, and voice. So that if anyone of these is required for probing the patients. It is facilitated.

Online portals: The website must be designed with an inquiry section where the patients can contact for bookings, sharing symptoms, reports, and access for the medical prescriptions and reports.

Telemedicine: It is the combined use of digital communication technology to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients (Lisbeth, 2015). The patients can use various digital methods to keep track of their health such as blood pressure, sugar level, etc, and the reports can be shared through mediums. And the clinicians must respondto the same medium chosen by the patient for their convenience.

Apart from the communication between patients and clinicians, there must be effective communication between the staff to measure the effectiveness of the e-consultations. Periodic meetings must be planned to set the policies and methods of treatment.

Virtual online consultations are a demand for the future because of the advancement of technology and the busy schedules of people which makes it difficult for the patients to visit the clinicians in person. There are certain advantages and disadvantages of telemedicine or virtual online consultations, that are discussed below.

Advantages.

  • Cost-effective and savings: virtual consultations save money from both the healthcare provider and the patient as compared to the face-to-face meetings. The traveling expenses are reduced for the patients and clinicians. It has been reported that the cost would be reduced by 11% with online consultations (Carter et.al, 2018). On-call hours can be converted to billable hours that will attract more customers and reduce no-shows thus, increasing the revenue.
  • Increased customer engagement: it is difficult for patients to make regular visits and take care of their health. The facilitation of online consultation would increase the regular virtual visits and the health would be improved.
  • Patient care quality: The freedom to access healthcare services through digital medium helps the customer to connect with the clinicians easily (Foronda, et al., 2016). This has resulted in the improvement of patient care and led to lowering the cases of lifestyle disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc.
  • Convenience: Patients living in remote areas usually face challenges due to the lack of healthcare facilities. Traveling time and cost are expensive. The online consultation is a convenient, timely, and money-saving method for the patients from remote areas along with improved health access.
  • Reduced time: The average time for face-to-face appointments is reported to be 14.5 min whereas telephone appointment is 7.6 minutes (Carter et.al, 2018). There is a significant reduction in the time required for consultations which would be beneficial for healthcare to increase revenue by treating more patients.
  • Privacy of patients: With the busy schedules stress and anxiety is a common factor that causes depression in the later stages. There is a social stigma which is attached to the depression and thus, patients are reluctant to share the difficulties (Hussain et.al, 2020). With the online consultations where the privacy is more, the patient can share the problems and can be treated effectively.
  • Pandemic situation: online consultation is an effective method to deal with the current pandemic situation without hampering the healthcare system and health of the patients.

Disadvantages.

  • Training and equipment: extensive training and equipment are required to build an effective program and earn a return on investment (Greenhalgh et.al, 2017). IT staff's responsibility will be restructured and the installation of the system in different locations is a huge investment.
  • Unemployment: The effectiveness of online consultations helps to monitor multiple patients at once using the technology. This healthcare will require less staff, and so many people's jobs can be lost.
  • Care continuity: There are possibilities that patients are connected to different doctors' different times. This can cause a lack of history of the patient which can impact the diagnosis and treatment (Foronda, et al., 2016). Therefore, the providers must ensure connection based on past exposures of the patients with the clinicians.
  • Technical glitches: poor network connectivity can hamper the voice and video quality. The delay in audio along with a video can result in an improper diagnosis of the disease or condition of the patients. Sometimes the videos are compressed for better connectivity which can hamper the expression that can be useful in the diagnosis.
  • Chronic disorders: acute disorders with repetitive treatments are easier to be treated through virtual online consultations but chronic disorders such as heart attack, cancer, etc. require face-to-face care. When a customer is experiencing a condition for the first time, it may be difficult for the customer to make the clinician understand the condition through virtual consultation (Greenhalgh et.al, 2016).
  • Personal touch: Non-verbal communication is difficult to understand through e-consultation. There would be lost in personal touch and compassion for the patient by 33% and accuracy of diagnosis is estimated to be 64% which can impact the treatment (Carter et.al, 2018).
  • Privacy: Health conditions are extremely confidential details which when shared digitally has a certain degree of insecurity. As databases are getting hacked and this can cause serious implications. Especially emails are not considered to be a reliable source for sharing documents as data theft is a major concern with the advancement of technology.
  • Ophthalmology treatments cannot be conducted online as the eye is a sensitive organ that requires several tests before providing any medications.

After the analysis of both advantages and disadvantages of virtual e-consultations. It can be seen that the disadvantages can be kept under check with precision and the use of better technology to connect with the patients. The balance must be maintained to outweigh the disadvantages with the effective and efficient use of technology for communication and treatment. The e-consultations would benefit the entire system and patients. However, some groups of patients would be more befitted with this approach. The group of patients is enlisted below.

  1. Depression: the patients suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression and face the social stigma attached to it which prevents them to contact the clinicians for the treatment would be befitted. The use of e-platforms to connect with the doctors and consultants and take necessary prescriptions would significantly drop down the patients' cases of depression (Hussain et.al, 2020).
  2. Patients in remote areas, villages that lack proper health care system would be benefitted from the access to the healthcare system worldwide with the use of technology. Any acute or chronic can be managed in a better way as compared to the condition where the patients have to travel to urban areas for being treated (Edwards et.al, 2017). A lot of patients have lost their lives in the traveling.

However, online consultationsare effective in treating patients, saving time, cost, etc. It can not completely replace the face-to-face appointments between the patient and clinician. The reasons are enlisted below (Edwards et.al, 2017).

  • Simple routine check-ups with the designed protocol for treatment can be treated online but it is difficult to diagnose a new and chronic symptom.
  • Ophthalmology can not use e-consultation as a medium to treat patients with eye defect as the protocol is difficult to be designed for online treatment.
  • Real-time interaction is not always possible which impacts the treatment process and can also lead to misdiagnosis which can complicate the process of treatment, as well as the results, can be negative (Shi et.al, 2017).
  • Most of the online-consultations ended up to face-to-face appointmentsfor about 70% of the patients which duplicated the workload of clinicians (Eklof and Ahlborg.,2016).
  • Some regions are devoid of the technology that restrict the implementation of online consultation.
  • On average response time is reported to be one-day which impacts the treatment process as the symptoms can get severe due to the delay.
  • Patient cantered risk is more in online-consultations as compared to the face-to-face consultation. There is not just technical, logistics, or regulatory difficulties but also possible harm to the patient's health (Edward et al., 2017).

Conclusion.

The report analyses impact of e-consultations in the Coronavirus situation and future. The report discussed the model of communication appropriate for a healthcare provider investing in technology for e-consultations. The interactive model of communication explains the process of communication between patients-clinicians, clinicians-clinicians. The communication must be effective for effective treatment. Advantages of e-consultations such as time and money savings, the privacy of patients, reduced score of depression cases, etc. are discussed along with disadvantages like data theft concern with sharing of medical reports through digital media, the late response from patients or clinicians, etc. it can be concluded that improvement is required in the online consultations and protocols for treatments are yet to be designed to improve the effectiveness (Hinckley et.al, 2020). However, the virtual online consultations can never completely replace the in-person visit due to the reason mentioned above.

References

Calton, B., Abedini, N. and Fratkin, M., 2020. Telemedicine in the time of coronavirus. Journal of Pain and Symptom Management.

Carter, M., Fletcher, E., Sansom, A., Warren, F.C. and Campbell, J.L., 2018. Feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of an online alternative to face-to-face consultation in general practice: a mixed-methods study of webGP in six Devon practices. BMJ open8(2), p.e018688.

Edwards, H.B., Marques, E., Hollingworth, W., Horwood, J., Farr, M., Bernard, E., Salisbury, C. and Northstone, K., 2017. Use of a primary care online consultation system, by whom, when and why: evaluation of a pilot observational study in 36 general practices in South West England. BMJ open7(11)

Eklof, M. and AhlborgJr, G., 2016.Improving communication among healthcare workers: a controlled study. Journal of Workplace Learning.

Foronda, C., MacWilliams, B. and McArthur, E., 2016. Interprofessional communication in healthcare: An integrative review. Nurse education in practice19, pp.36-40.

Greenhalgh, T., Vijayaraghavan, S., Wherton, J., Shaw, S., Byrne, E., Campbell-Richards, D., Bhattacharya, S., Hanson, P., Ramoutar, S., Gutteridge, C. and Hodkinson, I., 2016. Virtual online consultations: advantages and limitations (VOCAL) study. BMJ open6(1).

Hinckley, N. B. et al. (2020) "Orthopaedic Documentation and Coding Primer for Telemedicine and Electronic Patient Communication for the Covid-19 Pandemic," Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Ahead Of Print.doi: 10.2106/JBJS.20.00649.

Hussain, A., Shah, S., Dave, S., Ramkisson, R. and Quadri, M.F.A., 2020. Remote Consultations. Sushruta Journal of Health Policy & Opinion13(2).

LisbethBlom MSc, R., 2015. The situation, background, assessment and recommendation (SBAR) model for communication between health care professionals: A clinical intervention pilot study. International journal of caring sciences8(3), p.530.

Shi, V.Y., Komiak, S. and Komiak, P., 2017, July. Are you Willing to see Doctors on Mobile Devices? A Content Analysis of User Reviews of Virtual Consultation Apps. In International Conference on HCI in Business, Government, and Organizations (pp. 224-238). Springer, Cham.

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