The Coronavirus pandemic has dramatically changed the world as we know it, including the way people seek and receive healthcare. The majority of the population are steering clear of hospitals or clinics and postponing or even cancelling scheduled appointments with their doctors and elective surgeries out of fear of contracting the Covid-19 disease, which has unexpectedly infected millions and taken hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide.
Presently, every government imposes on its citizens to practice “self-isolation” and “shelter in place” until we flatten the curve. But with it comes a looming concern on how chronically ill individuals or those with urgent matters can have access to professional medical advice while in quarantine at home. Going digital with the rest of the world, healthcare providers have come up with telehealth, which seems to be the safest solution during these difficult times.
Telehealth takes advantage of all the available digital resources to manage healthcare access remotely. Patients can set an appointment and consult with their physicians online without stepping outside. Video-conferencing platforms, such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet, are frequently used as a virtual meeting space. Wearable medical devices like Apple Watch and Fitbit are also tapped to do primary diagnostics.
Otherwise called e-health or m-health for mobile health, telehealth is an effective strategy to provide seamless healthcare access, which was initially developed for people living in isolated rural communities. Aside from being able to get your initial consultations done in the comfort of your own home, here are other advantages of telehealth.
Nevertheless, telehealth can only do so much for patients. It has its own set of limitations that makes it incompatible with some medical specialties that work smoothly in a conventional setting, where face to face consultations are essential.
In the medical aesthetic industry, doctors must scrutinize the patient’s skin and the treatment site by looking at it carefully and, at times, touching it to develop a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Rashes, for example, come in all shapes, sizes, and are common symptoms invariably linked to a plethora of diseases. It would be complicated for doctors to give a definitive conclusion for skin conditions, such as rosacea or melasma, by just examining the patient over the Internet.
However, it might be an excellent process to screen potential patients. Telehealth, combined with follow-up physical appointments, can work in tandem.
It’s not the first time cosmetic treatments, such as Botox injections and dermal fillers, and telehealth have made the news.
In 2014, an article by the Ottawa Citizen tackled the growing concern over telehealth use or what was then known as telemedicine in local Botox clinics. It’s technically legal in Ontario and allows aestheticians to serve more patients than they could manage in person. It also enables medical spa chains to have only one qualified doctor despite serving multiple locations.
According to the same article, a specific case was filed in the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons against doctors who use telehealth in their clinics.
Here’s the committee response as published:
“The Committee does have some concern about the use of video conferencing in these circumstances as a substitute for a face-to-face interview with the patient. In our view, this does not fall within the original intent of telemedicine, which was to provide a means to ensure care is available to those in remote areas where the physical presence of a physician is problematic.”
Furthermore, the committee also raised considerable concern as to whether the remote assessment is indeed conducted as thoroughly as an in-person patient assessment and if follow-up checkups are negatively impacted. There were also apprehensions as to how doctors or injectors would present themselves online to patients in terms of the professional experience and qualifications they actually have.
However, it’s often a case-by-case basis. It depends heavily upon the doctors and the clinics. As mentioned earlier, there is nothing wrong with telehealth, especially given our current predicament. The real issue is ensuring clinics use it appropriately and without violating any medical guidelines. For instance, patients shouldn’t be deceived into getting a rhinoplasty surgery or a nose job from someone who pretends to be a plastic surgeon.
There’s sufficient evidence that supports that several medspa clinics that use telehealth for doctor-patient consultations before the actual Botox and filler treatments are administered and still uphold exceptional quality in their treatments.
Reputable aesthetic clinics that use telehealth with initial patient consultations should have doctors and licensed medical professionals in their team. Botox and dermal fillers like Juvederm can only be sold to doctors.
While registered nurses and practical nurses are skillfully trained and may receive certification to become injectors of the product, they can only do it in the supervision and physical presence of a doctor who has given them the authority to carry out the treatment.
Because non-surgical cosmetic treatments can pose risks and complications, there’s an emphasis on ensuring the patient’s safety and discussing everything involved. For that matter, the British Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons require physicians to physically meet with a patient before the treatment to consider possible risk factors and assess contraindications.
APT Medical Aesthetics is a premier medical spa in Oakville with state-of-the-art facilities, an impressive medical team, and a commitment to upholding the highest level of excellence in patient care.
At APT, we value our patient’s welfare and safety. Are you ready for telehealth? We’d love to hear from you and help you select a treatment option you feel most comfortable with. For inquiries, please contact APT today!BACK TO ALL ARTICLES
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Oakville ON, L6J 7W5
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