Loss of touch, inconsistent video call technology are key drivers for doctors to opt for face-to-face consultations, says GlobalData

Returning to face-to-face GP appointments is drawing interest from all sectors, as it could be used as another indicator of routine life reverting to prepandemic levels. Indeed, there are diseases that require the sense of touch for proper diagnosis and patient monitoring, which cannot be done via video calls, according to reporting by Reynald Castañeda, Pharma Writer for the Investigative News team at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. In addition, existing technology is yet to match clinician needs in terms of video quality and how existing software integrates into everyday workflow. For example, software may lack or have substandard screenshot capabilities.

Castañeda comments: “There are clinicians that are opposed to the idea of making telemedicine a standard approach. Patients with psoriasis, for example, require in-person examinations to monitor improvements in skin texture and thickness. While video calls can allow for visual monitoring of skin diseases, the quality of these video calls can be inconsistent and therefore an impediment for accurate diagnosis.

“Yet there will be instances where video calls would be ideal, such as in patients who are stable in their existing treatments. Video calls can save patient and clinician time, and transport costs reduced, particularly if the patient needs to travel to a specialist. Also, there are skin diseases wherein transport from home to the clinic could lead to undoing treatment progress – such as epidermolysis bullosa (EB) where patient skin is very fragile.

“Still, relying on video call consultations could delay treatment. Face-to-face visits allow quick procedures to be done on the spot, in contrast to video consultations which would require yet another doctor’s appointment. Video consultations also disallow clinicians from multitasking. Doctors can see multiple patients in a staggered fashion in the clinic while test results are being processed. This is challenging to do during video calls which have specific consultation timeframes.”

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