Telehealth and online consultation is the use of technology, such as video conferencing, to provide healthcare services remotely.
It has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the convenience it offers, especially in GP surgeries for services such as physiotherapy. However, some people argue that telehealth consultations are less effective than face-to-face consultations.
One of the main concerns with telehealth and online consultation is the lack of physical interaction between the patient and the healthcare provider. During a face-to-face consultation, a healthcare provider can observe subtle changes in a patient’s physical appearance, such as changes in mobility, joint position, skin colour or facial expressions, which can provide important clues about their condition. However, these subtle changes may be missed during a telehealth consultation, especially if the video quality is poor.
Research has shown that telehealth consultations can be effective for some conditions, but may not be appropriate for all patients. A study published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare found that telehealth consultations were less effective for diagnosing certain conditions and identifying subtle movement adaptations when compared to face-to-face consultations.
Another study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that telehealth consultations were less effective for managing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, compared to face-to-face consultations. The study found that patients who received telehealth consultations were less likely to have their condition under control compared to those who received face-to-face consultations.
In conclusion, while telehealth consultations can be a convenient option for some patients, however on first contact they may not be as effective as face-to-face consultations in all cases.
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