Use of telemedicine has rapidly grown in the past few weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is a practice that is being embraced more during this time where patients barely go to hospital more in fear of contracting the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines telemedicine as “healing from a distance.” This gives you the freedom to receive treatment without needing to schedule an appointment with your physician or go to their office for medical services.

Telemedicine allows you to discuss symptoms, medical issues, and more with a healthcare provider in real time. This comes in handy especially when one is not in a position to see their healthcare provider easily. With the use of this technology, you can receive a diagnosis, learn your treatment options, and get a prescription. In cases where it’s necessary, healthcare providers can even monitor readings from medical devices remotely to keep an eye on your condition. 

In Kenya, Liquid Telecom a telecommunications company made telemedicine a reality for thousands of patients at the Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa. Liquid Telecom which is known for its high-speed fibre connected the main hospital in Mombasa to seven of its outreach centres in the coastal region bringing healthcare closer to the community. This has improved healthcare delivery to the people in need.

How can you apply telemedicine?

To begin with, Telemedicine is not appropriate for emergency situations that occur such as heart attack or stroke, or broken bones that require x-rays. The cases listed require immediate hands-on action by a healthcare personnel in person.

Telemedicine can be useful in simple issues and follow up consultations instead. For example, if you get a cut and you suspect that it may be infected, you can schedule a virtual consultation with your healthcare provider. This platform allows you to discuss your symptoms and be given ways to manage the infected cut. Another case that telemedicine can be used is consultation purposes for instance if you need a birth control medication, you can chat through your needs and get a same-day prescription through your healthcare provider.

Other health issues that can be addressed through telemedicine include: psychotherapy and teledermatology, which offers consultations of rashes, etc. Colds and flu, insect bites, sore throats, vomiting and diarrhoea among other ailments. Telemedicine doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to visit your healthcare provider again, it instead makes care more accessible and affordable. Apart from that, it can definitely help reduce the time you spend in your doctor’s waiting room.

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