Pandemic and Doctor Consultations

If you would have asked me for a teleconsultation before COVID changed our lives; I would have requested you to meet me face to face if possible. That is a luxury we do not have now….

Please read this to make an informed decision…

Risk of Contracting Infection:

A face-to-face consultation will involve:

  1. Travelling.

  2. Contact with numerous people at doctor's office.

  3. Prolonged contact with the doctor.

We know that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV2) is transmitted through close contact, surfaces, fomites and perhaps air. Bangalore is currently facing a spike in transmission and I hope it ends soon. A psychiatric consultation involves 45-50 minutes of interview. While we can ensure that we follow physical distancing and mask related precautions, it hampers the quality of interview and rapport.

Mental Health Concerns Cannot be Ignored or Delayed...

This pandemic is a double jeopardy. On the one hand it has made medical consultations difficult and on the other hand it has increased emotional and mental health concerns in all of us. Trends across the world show that patients are delaying help-seeking even for urgent physical concerns like a heart attack! It is a worrying trend for psychiatrists as mental health has always been a neglected concern.

Special Considerations for High-Risk Groups:

The risks of contracting infection and having a serious outcome are even higher for:

  1. Age group above 55 years.

  2. Male Gender.

  3. Any chronic disease like High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Kidney Failure, Heart Disease.

  4. Smokers.

Tele-Consultation - A Possible Alternative

During these times, technology enabled solution to help patients and doctors can serve as an alternative to traditional consultations. Please read the process details for a tele-consultation to understand it better.

Limits of a Tele-Consultation

There are certain situations in which a tele-consultation may be inadequate for example:

  1. Acute Emergencies.

  2. Medico-legal cases.

  3. Uncontrolled physical illnesses like Hypertension or diabetes.

  4. Prescription of certain group of medicines.

In such situations, I will have to call you for a face-to-face consultation or direct you to the nearest hospital or clinic.