• Paddy Roy

User interview #1 : patient side

Updated: Jun 18, 2020

Post covid19 telemedicine has been emerging as the new medium of medical consultation. But still, there is a lot of acclimatization needed on both the ends i.e. the doctors and the patients. Trying to explore the expectations and the experience of a patient I took an interview of a patient.

Priya Sharma is a software developer at Red Hat and she has been working in the software industry for more than 5 years now. She and her family have been regularly consulting doctors for her parent’s ailments. Let’s talk to her and understand her experience.

BoxMD (BM): You told about your recent visits and consultations with doctors. During these interactions, did you ever happen to use tele-medicine?

Priya Sharma (PS): To start with, I have used Practo but that was for booking an appointment where I had to go and see the doctor in-person. Other than that, for my personal consultation, last month I consulted a doctor over the phone. It was over an audio call and not a video call but I was satisfied with the consultation. I was also provided a prescription which helped me in buying the medicine as the chemists would not deliver medicine without prescription during the covid.

BM: So, the experience that you shared was of fresh or first consultation for an ailment. Did you also ever use online medical consulting for taking any second opinion?

PS: My father has been suffering from severe pain in the legs and the back. Besides, in-person consultation which didn’t fetch satisfactory results, we tried two video consultations too. The first one again didn’t fetch good results but we still went for a second one as we still found the medium convenient enough. So, the second online opinion did fetch good results that too sitting at home. The doctor prescribed physiotherapy and my father has been feeling better after that. But, he has not recovered completely yet.

BM: I wish him better health and hope he completely recovers soon.

So I have been in touch with a lot of doctors in the context of telemedicine. There is one regular concern that I receive from them : theirs being a busy schedule, they would like to receive online consultation requests but they want to pick the time of consultation once they receive the request. What is your opinion?

PS: Well, if I think of it, I guess it won’t be an issue but with certain caveats. So in scenarios like 102° F fever or severe back pain, I will definitely not wait for 24 hours or so. But for situations unlike these, I would be happy to wait for a good doctor.

Also, even if I have to wait for timing confirmation from a doctor, I would still prefer online as it saves me from travelling and waiting in a hospital.

BM: Which one is more convenient for online consultations: chat or audio or video?

PS: Again it depends. Like in the previous example, if it's just the fever, an audio consultation can be good enough but if it’s a localized pain a video call would be more appropriate. The video call lets you show the exact location of the pain.

There is one other aspect though. If the doctor is experienced and reputed enough, I will be confident about him selecting the mode : audio, video or chat.

BM : Finally, in-person consultation Vs. online consultation : your take?

PS: Since I have used it, I think I would prefer online consultation because you can conveniently consult a doctor sitting at home or in the office. Further, the follow up visits can also be done online. So, I would say online consulting is the way to go!

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