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Telehealth In South Africa

Telehealth in South Africa is slowly but surely taking over the way healthcare is conducted. This way of providing care to patients provides numerous benefits and very few cons. It makes it easier for patients who are ill to receive care, it’s often more affordable, and it’s found to be more efficient!
Let’s talk in detail about Telehealth in South Africa!
 

What Is Telehealth?

Telehealth is the use of technology to provide healthcare services. This digital information and communication technology uses computers and other mobile devices to remotely access and manage healthcare services. Telehealth technologies are accessible at home and can be used by your doctor to provide more efficient care to patients.

Some of the luxuries of telehealth in South Africa include:

  • Downloading an app on your phone to access your health care from anywhere with internet connection
  • Used to seek an online test result, make appointments, seek prescription refills, and use an online patient portal to email your doctor
  • Electronically uploading prescriptions, meal logs, blood sugar level and medicine dosage to a doctor or nurse.
  • Online ordering of testing materials and medicines.
  • Get reminders by email, text, or phone when you are in need of a flu vaccination, a foot examination, or similar preventative care.

Telehealth, also referred to as e-health or mobile health (m-health), has the following objectives:

  • Make healthcare services accessible or convenient for persons with limited mobility, transit alternatives or time
  • Enhance communication and coordination of healthcare of patients between the patients and members of health care teams
  • Make healthcare services available to persons who reside in remote or isolated areas.
  • Provide easy access to medical professionals
  • Assist in self-management of health care

The telehealth services listed below are valuable resources for telehealth in South Africa.

Patient Portal

With the telehealth services, your primary care office may have a website or app that supports and provides a patient portal online. These portals offer an alternative to email, an unsecured method of communicating confidential medical information in general. A portal is a more secure internet tool that allows you to conduct the following:

  • Speak with your personal doctor
  • Refill your prescriptions
  • Make appointments or ask for appointment reminders
  • Examine your test results and visit previous summaries

A patient portal may also be accessed by any specialist you visit at any point in time.

Virtual Appointments

Some clinics may provide virtual appointments in which you may visit your medical practitioner via internet video-conferencing. In the case where a physical visit is not needed or feasible, virtual appointments allow you to carry on with your treatment with your doctor.
Another form of virtual appointment is the “Website consultation”. The Web-based visit allows you to access a doctor or nurse practitioner by visiting a website. However, most of the services provided here are generally for mild-ailments, comparable to those offered in a regular walk-in clinic.
When you sign up for a web-based consultation, you are asked a series of questions. The doctor, nurse, or other practitioners might prescribe medication, provide homecare recommendations, or simply refer you to additional medical treatment through the web service.

Many Technologies Allow Your Doctor Or Healthcare Team To Check Your Health Remotely

Among these technologies are:

  • Home monitoring systems for the elderly or those with dementia which identify variations in routine activity such as falls.
  • Devices that measure and wirelessly send blood pressure, glucose levels, lung function and other health data.
  • Web-based or mobile apps send information to your doctor or health care team, such as blood glucose levels.
  • Wearable devices that automatically capture and send health care data such as heart rate, blood glucose levels, locomotion, posture control, tremors, physical activity, and sleep patterns.

 

Doctors Talking To Doctors

Doctors may also use telehealth in South Africa to communicate quicker with each other regarding shared patients. For example, a virtual consultation allows primary healthcare providers to receive advice from experts when they are in doubt about the diagnosis of an illness or its treatment.
The Primary care doctor also has the means to transfer exam notes, test results, history, X-rays, or other pictures to a specialist for evaluation. The expert can provide help online, set up a virtual meeting with the patient at your doctor’s office, or request a face-to-face meeting.
These virtual consultations of doctors may minimize the need for unnecessary in-person referrals to specialists, shorten wait periods for professional input, and eliminate the need for wasteful travel.

Personal Health Records

An electronic personal health record system, often known as a PHR system, collects health information that you manage and maintain. You may access a PHR app from any web-enabled device, such as your computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, at any time.
In an emergency, a personal health record may immediately provide crucial information to emergency workers, such as current diagnoses, prescriptions, drug allergies, and your doctor’s contact information.

Personal Health Apps For Telehealth In South Africa

A plethora of applications have been developed to assist consumers in better organizing their medical information in one safe location. These digital tools may be helpful to you in the following ways:

  • Keep personal health information secure
  • Calculate and keep track of your calorie consumption
  • Keep track of your physical activities, such as your daily step count
  • Keep track of vital indicators
  • Remind yourself to take your medication regularly

 

Final Thoughts

Technology can increase healthcare quality while making it more accessible to more people. Telehealth in South Africa can make health care more efficient, coordinated, and accessible to the general public.
Telehealth research is however still in its early stages, but is expanding rapidly. For example, studies have demonstrated that telephone-based assistance and telemonitoring of vital signs in persons with heart failure lowered the risk of mortality and hospitalization and increased quality of life. We at quadcare look forward to

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