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Telerheumatology: an idea whose time has come

Telerheumatology: an idea whose time has come

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FRACP TH FRACP Telehealth Homepage

By Dr Irwin Lim, Rheumatologist

I've previously written about my 1st telehealth experience using videoconsultation. Dr Herman Lau and I then set up and continue to visit a rural NSW town called Temora 3 monthly to see patients in the flesh. We then follow them up remotely using videoconsultation (read about this hybrid model).

Our Royal Australasian College of Physicians has just launched a website to help physicians interested in providing telehealth. I think it's already an excellent resource which will improve with time. A lot of you will find this interesting so I thought it worth providing the link here.

I was pleased to see that this RACP Telehealth website included a link to an article (read here) written by my fellow rheumatologists, Drs Lynden Roberts and Claire Barrett with a small contribution from me.

FRACP_Telerheum

I currently use videoconsultation for only a few consultations each week. This number will likely increase but being a city-based doctor, it will always represent a small part of my work.

I do however believe that telerheumatology makes a difference. It will have an impact as more embrace this mode of consultation.

But, it's important to point out the very real advantages of interacting with a patient while in the same room, with the ability to process sensory clues, and the ability for physical examination. These are lost using internet-based communication and a webcam.

Telerheumatology is second best, but for some, the improved access and greatly improved convenience, will outweigh the disadvantages.

I'd love to hear about your experience with videoconsultation.

Dr Irwin Lim is a rheumatologist and a director of BJC Health. You should follow him on twitter here.
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