Doctors VS Telemedicine

In many countries, especially in emerging markets, efforts to introduce regulation for Telemedicine have been met with strong reactions from local medical associations and doctors at large.

Doctors VS Telemedicine

Doctors VS Telemedicina. In many countries, especially in emerging markets, efforts to introduce regulation for Telemedicine have been met with strong reactions from local medical associations and doctors at large. As a result access to medical consultations continues to be limited and often scarce.

“CFM revokes resolution that regulated telemedicine in Brazil”

This is a story of resistance and pushback as a result of a lack of information, misconceptions, herd mentality, and fear. Doctors think that telemedicine and its various business models pose a threat to everything that they are: A highly educated group of professionals who not only have dedicated their lives to medicine but they save lives every day. It may just be the profession – or should I say calling – that requires the highest amount of responsibility. After all, it is our lives that are at stake.

There is no one that admires doctors and everything they do more than myself. As a son of a cardiovascular surgeon, I have witnessed first hand the dedication and sacrifice that is involved. But in contrast to many doctors, I am also a big supporter of Telemedicine. In this article, which will be in various parts I will try to briefly discuss the usual arguments against telemedicine and specifically tele-consultations.

Telemedicine misconceptions

A doctor cannot provide medical advice and – god forbid – a diagnosis without examining the patient in real life. This creates the debate about Doctors vs Telemedicine, Mobile and web apps that allow patients to consult with doctors should not be allowed. Today almost every doctor performs one form or another of telemedicine. Either through phone calls, messenger or WhatsApp doctors are constantly providing medical advice remotely. And they are doing it for free. And it bothers them because patients take advantage of their noble sense of responsibility to respond and provide care.

Would it not be great if that happened on an organized platform, that not only bills for the service but also keeps proper medical records of the conversations and recommendations? There is no additional risk to it than the risk inherent in medical practice.

Doctors are very well trained and know exactly if a teleconsultation can help the patient or if a physical examination is necessary. At the very least they can guide the patient much more effectively than self-medicating, which is often the alternative. In the US where telemedicine is formally used more than any other country the results and the adoption rate are impressive. As a result, it now forms part of Medicare and regulation is loosened so that more patients can have access.

“Pros and Cons of Telehealth, Telemedicine Advantages and Disadvantages” 

If Tele-consultation spreads medical doctors will have less work. This argument is based on false assumptions. The first false assumption is that had teleconsultation not been available, every person who uses it would have gone to a doctor instead. This is not the case. As a result of the cost and time involved in visiting a doctor, most people avoid going unless symptoms are serious or an emergency. Others are unsure whether it is necessary to visit a doctor or not.

Telemedicine successfully engages a much larger part of the population with doctors. It also allows people living in remote areas without medical access to consult with a doctor. In fact the widespread usage of telemedicine will result to a higher demand for doctors as it will improve the global access to medical orientation and advice.

“Telemedicine a Great Way to Grow For Hospitals to Grow Their Business”

Innovative low-cost models are often misunderstood. Doctors are often offended by the low Tele-consultation costs offered. Some telemedicine companies offer their services with aggressive price offerings such as “$15 dollars per month, 10 monthly consultations”. In a world where a medical consultation costs many times this monthly fee, it seems unreasonable that one could get a quality consultation for such a low price. Therefore, people assume that surely the price reflects the low quality of the service etc. But this is not the case.

In fact, the quality of the service is usually very high and sometimes even higher than a traditional consultation. People who discard the service because of its low cost fail to understand the business model behind it. No company launches a business in order to lose money. The innovative subscription business model allows for low consultation costs because payment is not on demand. The user pays $15 every month regardless of whether they use the service or not, similar to a traditional insurance policy.

The telemedicine company enjoys the revenue from the subscription fees of all its clients and in exchange offers medical consultations with top quality doctors. So in essence, it is not a cost per consultation that is paid. Users pay a small monthly fee for the right to consult with a doctor whenever they need to.



Alex Poulias
President & Co-Founder



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