Discouraged by the lack of slots, and full waiting rooms, are you tempted by teleconsultation for medical advice? It is a possible option, but which is only effective in a certain context, recalls a study.
Teleconsultation from home or at a terminal provided for this purpose allows you to be in contact with a general practitioner, remotely, when traveling seems impossible. The option has advantages, availability, timing, when we find ourselves in an impasse. But as a new study on the use of teleconsultation points out, it is only really effective when it is done with a doctor who knows you.
The high risk of having to consult again
Thus the Canadian study focused on more than 5 million Ontario residents who had a family doctor and had a virtual visit between April 2021 and March 2022. 4 million patients carried out a teleconsultation with their own family doctor. family and 1 million patients with an outside doctor.
Following this video medical call, the team of researchers noted several differences:
- 25% of patients who teleconsulted an external doctor were more likely to follow up with an in-office visit;
- 88% were more likely to have another virtual visit within seven days;
- Finally, compared to patients who had a teleconsultation with their own family doctor, those who received virtual care from a doctor outside their family care team were 66% more likely to visit the emergency room within seven days.
“Our results show that the relationship between a patient and their treating physician makes a difference,” explains lead author Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw.
Teleconsultation, an effective option only between two appointments
The result does not surprise Dr Gérald Kierzek, medical director of TipsForWomens, who would like to point it out once again.
“To be effective, medicine requires three things: one, knowing the patient and their history, two, monitoring them regularly, three, physically examining them.”
If teleconsultation is part of the health journey, ideally, this should be done between two physical appointments, and not an isolated session with an unknown doctor.
“For a properly treated patient, teleconsultation should only be possible as part of a care pathway, between two physical visits, two normal consultations.” advises our expert. “Hence the Health Insurance measure, which no longer authorizes work stoppages of more than 3 days given by teleconsultation (except with your attending physician). Only those of less than 3 days are now tolerated in teleconsultation. Which is a logical measure.
If you still need to see your GP without being able to travel, still consider contacting them, or search for them on appointment platforms; some give access to videos in certain slots… but with a known face.