New Models of Care – Dr. John Ross
In an effort to convey some of the challenges behind modern telemedicine PRAXES asked Dr. John Ross to give us his thoughts about developing new models of care from this recent article from Forbes “Telehealth Has Huge Potential, But Challenges Remain”.
I think the key messages here are telemedicine IS coming because it does address in part some the significant patient access-to-care problems that exist. The access-to-care problem can occur in non-urban areas especially because there are not enough health professionals living/working there and because the demand/need for care is greater than the supply that currently exists and is being trained. So new models of care need to be accepted. History has demonstrated that many patient-care provider interactions CAN be conducted safely and successfully virtually, with the care provider in another location. There are numerous potential benefits too including less travel time and expense and shorter waits.
One of the biggest challenges however is that many current virtual care models require people to have money or insurance to pay for the services. We know that poverty is THE number one determinant of health ie those with low or minimal income are more likely to have health issues and have access to care barriers. They also have less access to technology (smart phones, computers), or may be elders and less tech-savvy. They are too often left out of the population of people who can benefit from virtual care. As higher users of healthcare, it would be ideal to develop solutions to offer virtual care to that vulnerable group, some of whom have difficulty engaging with the traditional clinic and hospital systems.
Telemedicine is rapidly evolving and the more it is used, the more solutions will be found for ways to provide it for more people. PRAXES is a huge supporter of creative virtual care.
John Ross MD FRCPC – Medical Director, PRAXES Medical Group
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