Anyone feeling unwell this weekend should consider using telemedicine to have their symptoms assessed and treated. That’s according to Dr. Ronan Flynn, Clinical Director of MeeDoc, Europe’s largest telemedicine provider.
Commenting today in advance of the May Bank Holiday weekend, Dr. Flynn – who practises as a GP in Shannon, Co. Clare – said: “Most GP surgeries close over Bank Holiday weekends, which means people who feel they need to consult a doctor have to wait three days to see their GP.
“In the past, their only alternative was an out-of-hours service or to attend the Emergency Department of their nearest hospital. Neither of these options is desirable and, if used by people with minor ailments, they place additional pressure on an already over-stretched health system.
“75%* of health enquiries do not require a face to face consultation, so people can get treatment by other means, such as a smartphone ‘doctor in your pocket’ app that connects you with a GP within minutes. Whether it’s a Bank Holiday weekend or not, telemedicine offers a cost-effective, speedy and convenient solution for patients.
“It also plays an important role in alleviating the pressures faced by the health system because greater take-up of telemedicine is proven to reduce pressure on GP and Emergency Departments’ waiting times.”
Dr. Flynn continued: “One of the obvious benefits of telemedicine is that it’s mobile: if you’re travelling to visit family or friends this weekend, your plans don’t need to be interrupted if you fall ill, and you won’t need to spend hours hanging around an Emergency Department.
“By using telemedicine, you can have your condition diagnosed – and treated, if necessary – while you’re on the move and regardless of whether you’re at home or in an entirely different part of the country.”
According to Dr. Flynn, the MeeDoc app is particularly busy at weekends. “Since we launched in Ireland last November, we’ve seen a high demand for our services at weekends,” he said. “That doesn’t come as a surprise: we live in an on-demand culture, where people assume services are available 24 / 7. In the 21st Century, patients expect to be able to access quality healthcare as and when they need it – and that’s what telemedicine provides.”
MeeDoc is an app that enables patients to connect with a GP via their smartphone within minutes through a secure instant messaging service.
No appointment is necessary and the case can remain open for as long as the doctor and patient need it to. If the GP needs to see the patient, a video link can be opened. Patients can instant message their MeeDoc in private anytime of the day or night. If a prescription is required, the GP can fax it to a local pharmacy – wherever the patient is in Europe.
The MeeDoc app was launched in Ireland at the end of November 2015 and has attracted thousands of downloads, with a growing number of GPs through the country converting to telemedicine consultations.
Further information about MeeDoc is available at: http://meedoc.ie.
*Research published in Finland – where MeeDoc originated in 2012 – showed it is possible to conduct 75% of all primary care via telemedicine.