The remote doctor in the 21st century

Baby Health UN News

UNICEF/Kent Page A Nepali grandmother holds her daughter’s newborn baby at the UNICEF-supported Patan Hospital in Kathmandu.

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Mamya Islam Juthy, a 22 year-old student, from Mymensingh, Dhaka, Bangladesh. She is a 5th year medical student in Mymensingh Medical College,which is one of the renowned medical colleges in Bangladesh. She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA). However, the opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

Laura Fegraus ,a Californian, rushed to a nearby hospital emergency in San Rafael when her 9 month old child was scalded upon by a hot tea accidentally. After a primary management there, she was refered to a burn specialist in San francisco for better management,which was at quite far distance.It was a bolt from the blue for her because she was unable to bear the tremendous cost to meet the doctor out there. She fell into dilemma.

A remote doctor is one who provides clinical health care services to the patients from a distant place via telecommunication and information technology. He is the server in the telemedicine concept, the idea of which was first coined in 1967 by Kenneth Bird at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since then, this telemedicine service sector has been expanded a lot and now in 2018, in the age of smart technology, an ardent necessity is felt by the citizens all over the world.

According to Statista, over 36% of world’s population are using smartphones in 2018, which definitely has resulted in the declination of at-the-office consultations with the doctors. Not all, but many of the cases can be dealt from far by simple video calls from patients’ home.The physical examinations can be performed as per instructions by the physician and advised investigations given can be sent to the doctor at a later date. Even the doctor need not to be in his or her chamber in order to have a consultation with the patient.

A remote doctor can offer both scheduled and nonscheduled visits easily without any compromise of the quality service for both treatment purpose and follow ups.Though usually the first time visit to a doctor is necessary for overall assessment of health condition, subsequent follow ups via telecommunication media can effectively minimise unnecessary visits. Especially it can be beneficial in the following cases:

▪any emergency situation that need prompt management to lessen the chance of morbidity and mortality related to delay to reach the service station

▪geographic barriers eg. clinic situated at far distance, bad transports etc.

▪unfavourable weather (eg heavy snowfall,rainfall)

▪physically disable persons, whom taking to the hospital is a cumbersome task

▪economic insufficiency where the travelling cost makes an extra burden

The time is not far when telemedicine service will replace hospital admissions in many cases as the medical instrumental technology is advancing towards inventing transportable and wearable devices. In that case, it can minimise the hospital acquired infections and also transmission of infection from patient to doctor. As the patient needn’t leave the house, he or she can actively supervise the home affairs whereas being admitted to the hospital almost isolates the patient. Remaning in a comfortable home environment helps in early recovery.

All in all, appropriate and adequate treatment is the first and foremost thing that should be taken into account.Telemedicine can create a remarkable upstep in human healthcare and a remote doctor can be the virtual bestfriend of mankind.

In this case, out of fortune, Laura got a video visit option offered by the burn specialist. Examination of wounds,dressing changes and subsequent follow up were all conducted by the doctor via video and the child was able to recover without visit the doctor in person.

About the author

My name is Lamya Islam Juthy, which means “Bright Light”. I am 22yrs old, live in Mymensingh,Dhaka,Bangladesh, am a 5th year medical student in Mymensingh Medical College,which is one of the renowned medical colleges jn Bangladesh.I passed my secondaries from a cadet college. I try to follow the religious rules with a where my basic personality was built up. I try to follow the religious customs will all my heart and finds the peace there. I like busy life with packed schedule. I love reading books,doing arts and crafts and love the people round me.I wish there would be no poverty in my country.I wish people wouldn’t have to go abroad for treatment purpose anymore! I wish i could make my people proud!

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