Understanding the limitations of telemedicine.
Before your consultation, we would like you to understand some important differences between a telemedicine consultation and seeing the doctor in person.
The main difference is that the doctor is unable to perform a physical examination. This has the potential to reduce diagnostic accuracy. Our doctors are acutely aware of this, and in some instances they may want to discuss arranging for you to see another health professional (or themselves) in person. There may also be situations (such as an obvious medical emergency) where they may advise you to go to hospital or even call an ambulance.
Unlike a consultation in person, telemedicine is dependent upon electronic communications media, and as such is subject to variations in the performance of these media (such as the quality of an internet connection). In the event of the chosen medium being compromised excessively, you or the doctor may choose to use a backup such as the telephone. In the worst case scenario the consultation may not be able to proceed until a later time.
While remaining aware of these differences, it is of course reasonable for you to expect that other aspects of your telemedicine consultation will be exactly the same as a consultation in person, in particular that you will be seen by an appropriately qualified, caring health professional whose ethical and professional conduct are of the highest order. We at Docto are committed to ensuring that this is the case.
Actions prior to your consultation:
Prior to your consultation, we suggest that you:
- Write down any questions that you have for the doctor.
- You can take part in a video consultation using an Android phone or tablet, an iOS device (iPhone or iPad) or a PC (with webcam and microphone), as long as you have a reliable internet connection.
- Ensure that you are in a quiet and private environment, with your camera set up so that your head is in the centre of the frame.
- Arrange your seating so that you are lit from the front, so that the doctor can see you clearly. The doctor will do the same.
- Consider if you want someone else present with you during the consultation, such as your spouse or another family member. We ask that minors (< 18 years) should be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
If you are consulting one of our inpatient specialists, we would encourage you (where possible) to include your general practitioner in the consultation, which can happen in your GP’s surgery (this is called a dual consultation). This ensures immediate and clear communication between the specialist and your GP. In addition, your GP may be able to assist the specialist by performing elements of any physical examination which is required.
Consultations with our emergency medicine specialists are typically of an urgent or semi-urgent nature, and as such it is not normally possible to include your GP.
What to expect during your consultation:
- The doctor will identify themselves and will ask you to do the same, confirming your name, date of birth and contact details. The doctor will also give you information about their qualifications, location and scope of practice.
- The doctor will probably ask you about the quality of the video/audio link.
- The doctor may write or type notes during the consultation.
- If there are any technical problems with your device or the electronic link during the consultation (for example if you can’t hear clearly), please make the doctor aware immediately.
- The consultation can occur only with your full consent. If for any reason you do not wish to continue, you may stop the consultation at any time. Please notify the doctor if this is the case.
What to expect after your consultation:
- The doctor will send you a report of your consultation by secure email, as well as sending a copy to your general practitioner or other doctor of your choice.
- You may be contacted by our staff in the next few days to check on your progress and to ask for your comments on our service.
- We welcome your feedback regarding any aspect of your consultation and the surrounding processes. Please feel free to contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments.