Video clinic: Q&A with Dr Miodrag Todorovic | 23 February 2021
Video Clinics have for some years now been offering patients face-to-face appointments, allowing them to access their healthcare provider from home, without the need to go to the clinic/hospital.
Since last year, there has been a significant increase in the demand for and use of this video call service, due to the ongoing pandemic. However, according to Dr Miodrag Todorovic at Panafricare Clinic, it appears that this system has not been fully adopted in Seychelles yet, and one which he feels can be of great benefit, particularly to those who cannot easily access their healthcare providers due to certain restrictions.
In the following interview with Dr Todorovic, we learn what a Video Clinic service is and how it works, as well as the benefits and considerations.
Seychelles NATION: Can you explain what Video Clinic is, its purpose and how it works?
Dr Todorovic: Video Clinic with video/teleconsultation is a known technique for many years since digital techniques stepped into the health sector, and has been evolving together with technology over the years. An amazing boost and progress has been seen in the last year due to the pandemic, and the real value of this medical service is being appreciated.
For the first time in recent medical history however, while this type of medical service was exclusive or disputed before, circumstances in the pandemic have proven that people have no easy access to many medical services, either due to a risk to contract the disease in waiting rooms of medical clinics, or because of the lockdown, personal comfort, medical conditions etc.
This is why Video Clinic has replaced physical attendance and contact with the doctor, to become faster, simpler and sometimes more personalised. In the majority of these sessions, the patient can get the best possible advice from the doctor regarding their actual condition, necessary education, prescription, referral to the right specialist or institution, and thanks to many personal digital health gadgets, it is possible to report physical parameters such as blood pressure, pulse rate, temperature, oxygen saturation etc.
Video signal can transmit the picture of any body, skin lesions, throat condition etc. Video consultation is a part of telemedicine. The patient also can show their results, X rays, other reports etc in real time and discuss the condition with their doctor.
Video clinic facilitates referrals to other doctors, medicine prescription, consultation billing and payment by card etc. Normally, video consultation has some limitations when it comes to physical touch but the patient is then properly advised what needs to be done next; much, much better than Dr Google.
Seychelles NATION: What is the importance of the Video Clinic service?
Dr Todorovic: The importance of Video Clinic is self-explanatory through the pandemic we are experiencing. People are, from the comfort of their home, free to book an appointment though their android phone, to see their family doctor, community nurse or any consultant, particularly when they are far away and secluded with circumstances: in remote areas, isolated islands, in major disaster conditions, in a pandemic lockdown, and when access to a doctor is difficult.
Seychelles NATION: Are there any aspects about Video Clinic which you feel people might be concerned about?
Dr Todorovic: I think yes; I would like to stress upon the fact that clear standards and accreditation programmes which can guarantee the quality of the service or genuineness, are not yet set internationally for this type of service.
My advice for everyone for now is to stay connected to the Video Clinic of your own doctor who you know and who knows you.
Seychelles NATION: What does a clinic require to have this service in place, and what do the patients require to use it?
Dr Todorovic: Video Clinic needs good organisation, time, people, hardware and technical background, as well as a software with a proper appointment system. It runs as a real clinic.
The patient needs an ordinary android or iPhone video contact over the internet, and a credit or debit card to pay the consultation.
The patient can call in advance to get an appointment and before the specific time, they can provide their card details to pay for consultation fees. Once it is done, the system automatically opens the video link at the appointment time. Prescriptions, referrals, consultation reports, all come as an email.
Seychelles NATION: You mentioned that Video Clinic was introduced at Panafricare Clinic last year. Tell us more about this.
Dr Todorovic: Panafricare Clinic offered this service last year in April when it was obvious that people could not easily get proper advice about Covid-19 or access the clinic. We started it as a pilot study first on a selected day and had some international appointments as well.
However, it seems that the system is not adopted in Seychelles yet. People prefer to ask questions via Facebook instead of meeting the doctor for an appointment. Appointments are during working hours and only on available selected days (Saturdays), not every day.
Once the system takes off in numbers, it can work every day with dedicated staff. We don't need to force the system as we are a small island, but people from Praslin, La Digue, hotels and resorts, boats on the sea etc, should now more and more be using this system in the current situation.
PANAFRICARE CLINIC is committed to developing further use of digital techniques in its daily practice, including digital video facilities, not only for evidence collecting, records keeping and communication, but also for real time distance diagnostic.
For all questions, appointments or clarifications, call 4 321 310 and talk to us, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.