·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

Health & Medicine

Time For Telemedicine: Get Medical Advice During Coronavirus Epidemic

— May 26, 2020

Telemedicine is a solution for all healthcare sectors. The more so that the current situation has forced us to take a step forward: telemedicine has recently been reimbursed by the National Health Fund (NFZ).

The country is in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus. We should not leave homes to go to medical facilities, because it increases the risk of infection for both doctors and patients. What’s more, the facilities themselves – both public and private – have introduced operating restrictions without exception. Access to healthcare is, therefore, significantly impeded.

Technology can help a lot today! Thanks to telemedicine, both primary health care and outpatient specialist care can operate today. It is thanks to telemedicine that my patients can benefit from services.

So the doctor calls the patient and …

He gives him a consultation. Such consultations may take place via ICT systems: by phone, chat, or video call. The doctor interviews the patient, and at the end of such teleconsultation, he can issue an e-prescription, e-referral, or e-release. So the patient, without leaving home, which is very important especially now, can tell the doctor about his ailments and needs, obtain a prescription and the required documents to continue treatment with another doctor. 

Nowadays, the comfort of patients is extremely important. We live in a very unique reality. Shopping or food ordered at home, doctor on demand, and many other remote services are becoming more popular. The direction of the development of society coincides with the current direction of medicine.

Are such teleports reimbursed by the National Health Fund or are they only provided by commercial clinics?

Telemedicine is a solution for all healthcare sectors. The more so that the current situation has forced us to take a step forward: telemedicine has recently been reimbursed by the National Health Fund (NFZ).

Telemedicine, or more specifically – what?

The National Health Fund refunds teleport, i.e. patient consultation via IT systems by primary care physicians (POZ) and outpatient specialist care (AOS), or more precisely – all types of facilities. Moreover, the National Health Fund subsidizes medical facilities with solutions enabling the provision of such services up to the amount of 6.5 thousand zł.

What specialties can doctors give teleports for?

Virtually all – primary care physicians, i.e. internists, pediatricians, family doctors, and other specialties. Until now, it was considered how to consult a patient remotely, and now it turned out that it is cool, convenient, fast, and practical. And – what is very important today – safe. There are no restrictions and all specializations want to implement this solution. I will give an example: a few days ago I talked with representatives of scientific societies. They could not imagine how to consult something remotely to see or touch. 

Today, an epidemic has forced such action. They also want to implement telemedicine. I will say more: there is a need for such consultations of physiotherapists and even dentists! The recommendations of the Chief Sanitary Inspectorate and the National Health Fund also speak about night and holiday health care.

From an economic point of view – is it profitable for clinics?

If the clinic does not work, does not accept patients, it does not earn, does not receive a refund. With very high fixed costs – today the cost of living is great, and revenues that fall practically to zero, such a solution is a good path. Thanks to telemedicine, doctors maintain work continuity, and the clinic gains funds for maintenance during this uncertain period.

Offer a telemedicine platform to medical facilities. What is Doctor Center?

As the only ones on the market, we provide a fully comprehensive service. We offer a platform through which a doctor can consult patients via chat, phone or video, issue e-prescriptions, e-referrals, and e-waivers. Using the platform, you can remotely manage the entire clinic, set up doctors’ graphics, and create medical records. 

And what is important, the platform makes it possible to settle the service with the NFZ. Neither the doctor nor the clinic needs to worry about anything because after the advice is finished, we automatically send information to the NFZ, we settle the teleportation, so there is no need to use another system. This is important for companies in the current difficult situation, especially since the National Health Fund has optimized the method of settling benefits.

No less important: thanks to our efficient servers we offer high-quality services. This means that the consultations will not be interrupted – we do not interrupt chat, conversation, or video contact.

The other arm of this solution is a practical tool for the patient, who thanks to the platform can view referrals, see the entire history of visits, exemptions, and prescriptions.

Health information is sensitive data. The obvious question is: is telemedicine safe?

If you use our platform, teleports are completely safe. We focus on modern solutions that provide us with the stability and security of processed data.

However, I know of cases when doctors consult via popular applications, payments are made by bank transfer, and confirmation is sent by email. This is risky because the servers of such messengers often do not meet the GDPR guidelines because they are located outside the Union. You can be exposed not only to problems but also to pay a fine.

For additional information on this service, please see below.

Infographic on telemedicine, courtesy of author.
Infographic on telemedicine, courtesy of author.

Join the conversation!