Tele-paediatrics is a great solution for children as it can be used as a tool that can help connect your child to many different types of healthcare services.
If a child has a condition that manifests with behavioural challenges, feeding concerns or conditions like epilepsy, asthma or diabetes which require regular check-ins and upkeep are important to successful treatment plans. Doctors are using telemedicine or tele-paediatrics to build highly-effective care strategies, and make sure patients stick with it. It’s also easier for parents to ask questions when they have a concern, and prevent potential emergency situations. While telemedicine is no substitute for in-person care during a crisis, having access to physician knowledge can help parents prevent a trip to the emergency room in the first place.
Telemedicine involves speaking to a doctor either over the phone or via video technology. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “Telemedicine is the practice of medicine using technology to deliver care at a distance. A physician in one location uses a telecommunications infrastructure to deliver care to a patient at a distant site.” This means patients can be assessed and diagnosed from the comfort of their own homes and without the risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 or potentially exposing doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff.
It’s so great knowing there’s an alternate solution that would ease the stress of getting children to the doctor, especially for routine issues like the common cold, seasonal allergies, breastfeeding problems and even prescription refills. Not having to take time off from work or pull children from their routine means that you can schedule a video call with your physician from any location, and get fast answers to your questions via tele-paediatrics.
Tips on how a Telehealth service can work for children:
- Make sure you get information about how the telehealth visit works before it happens. A telehealth visit isn’t just a phone call – it uses video too, similar to FaceTime or Skype. In order to participate in a tele-paediatrics visit, you’ll need a smart phone, tablet or computer with a camera and microphone. Be sure you have good internet service too!
- A video visit can provide you with plenty of information to diagnose common rashes, behavioural issues, feeding concerns or diagnosing conjunctivitis. You could also use your tele-paediatrics video visits simply to refill patient prescriptions, or provide follow-ups to patients you recently saw in-office. However, some things still require an old-fashioned trip to the doctor.
- There is no waiting room– We all know that when we book that doctor’s appointment, that we have to pack a big bag of snacks and toys to pass the time. The average doctor’s office waiting time is 20 minutes and with telehealth, you book a video call and log on right on time. No waiting!
- Easier to schedule– You can set up a call with your doctor around your schedule, at your convenience, and at a time that’s least disruptive for you. This is a quick and easy way to get access to your doctor without the time-consuming in-person visit.
- Have a list of symptoms, questions or other important items ready to discuss with your doctor before you start your virtual visit.
- Use a quiet, well-lit room or area during your visit so your doctor can see and hear you clearly. Everyone is just more comfortable in their own familiar surroundings. If the doctor is hoping to get a real sense of your child and their behaviour as well as you when you’re at your best and most prepared as a parent, consider tele-paediatrics as an option for those in between visit check-ins or side effect checks.
- Have a book or toy for your child to play with during the visit, so you can focus on conversations with the doctor.
- Wondering if you need doctor’s gadgets at home? No tools are mandatory but a thermometer or a scale can be helpful. If you have concerns about your child’s health, call your paediatrician and ask about their telemedicine capabilities.
- Once the visit begins, the doctor will want information about your primary concerns and will want to see your child on the screen. He or she will probably ask questions about your child’s medical history and then conduct a virtual examination and assessment. Finally, the doctor will decide on next steps.
- Before the visit ends, make sure you understand your doctor’s diagnosis, instructions, advice and the next steps you should take, if any.
- Remember, not all concerns are appropriate for telemedicine. Sore throats, rashes, colds, vomiting and diarrhoea can be assessed through a virtual doctor’s visit, but other conditions like fractures, bleeding and trauma and chest pain should be seen by a doctor in person.
Getting set up for a telemedicine visit isn’t quite as simple as just opening your browser, but it’s a fairly straightforward process. Be sure to prepare for telemedicine visits by making sure you can access the telemedicine platform and create or log in to your account. Fill out online questionnaires ahead of time. Having your child present for the appointment is an absolute must, and be ready to show any pictures or videos if they might help your doctor understand what’s going on.
Taking advantage of telemedicine appointments can go a long way in helping to slow the spread of the coronavirus and not only helps keep your family protected, but also helps protect office staff and their families.
Get the best support and answers from our Nurturey healthcare team.
Written by: Dr Anisa Vahed