With an estimated 96% of large companies in the USA alone providing access to teleconsultation services for their staff on a domestic basis , this is a rapidly growing industry around the world.
We have seen a range of circumstances where teleconsults can be the most convenient and efficient means of healthcare. For instance, an American university student was studying abroad in the United Kingdom, and fell ill with a sinus infection. Seeking help, he contacted the International SOS Assistance Centre in Philadelphia, USA.
The coordinating nurse conducted an initial assessment and determined that medical condition the patient was suitable for teleconsultation. The coordinating nurse proceeded to triage the patient to teleconsultation after identifying no primary care providers were immediately available for an in-person consultation (since it was a Sunday afternoon), and the nearest hospital was both 15 minutes away and not the preferred clinical setting for the student’s condition.
The operations team immediately scheduled an appointment with a local UK GMC registered teleconsultation provider in the UK, who was credentialed and contracted as part of our global provider network.
The student participated in the video-based teleconsultation at the agreed scheduled time, using an International SOS provided mobile app on their iPhone with an encrypted video connection to the local provider.
After reviewing the student’s condition on the video call, the local provider determined the need to remotely prescribe antibiotics, and sent the prescription electronically to a nearby pharmacy, only a short walk from the student’s location.
The student collected the medication minutes after the conclusion of the teleconsultation, and began the course of treatment.
International SOS followed up regularly with the patient and the sinus infection successfully resolved over the following several days, and the payment and related medical reporting to the student’s university, working in compliance with UK and USA data security laws.
In this type of situation, and many others, patients are increasingly embracing mobile solutions, and realising the benefits of virtualised access to resolve certain primary care issues such as upper respiratory tract infections, minor skin conditions, UTI’s or medication refills. Teleconsultation will continue to grow both domestically and in the international context and we’ll continue to expand our own global teleconsultation capability to deliver a best in class, integrated service to our members.
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Telehealth & Digital Innovation Director, Assistance