Sickness and illness to any member of a family can be devastating especially if it has impact on a family’s daily routine. Running a household when a parent is ill is not ideal, but in homes around the UK parents are dealing with sickness and illnesses all day every day making it difficult for parents to book and visit NHS services.
When a child is ill, parents often have to put their lives on hold. It’s hardly ever ideal, but missing work due to catering for a child’s need through illness is essential when a child’s health is at risk. Regular or one off doctor’s appointments can be difficult to attend if a parent has to travel long distances on public transport, or if a child is pain or discomfort. Some GPs around the UK have started to launch video calling services enabling parents and children to be diagnosed over the web. The innovation and service has caused much debate between doctors and patients on both sides of the fence arguing the case for and against the use of video calling in diagnosis.
Benefits of Video Calling
As discussed above, one of the biggest benefits of participating in a video call with a local doctor is that the parent or child stays in their home or bed. This is fantastic for several reasons:
1. They will have home comforts and access to facilities in case of illness
2. If a patient has a contagious bug they would not being spreading the bug to the general public either on public transport or in the waiting area of a General Practice. If video calling had already been introduced there might have been fewer people being diagnosed with avian flu (Bird Flu) a few years ago as it could have been better contained.
3. If a video calling system was introduced, patients of all ages would potentially get an appointment with a doctor quicker: this could help with early diagnosis of illness, disease and disability. A system could be introduced to send patients test results and prescriptions online. The aim of video calling is to give patients a hassle free service and a service that doesn’t require you to queue and book an appointment at 8am every morning. At many local centres, patients have to battle for early appointments, many working men and women find it hard to book appointments before work or school.
Pitfalls of Video Calling
One of the main arguments against the use of video calling services comes from the concerns over misdiagnosis. Both doctors and patients have aired concerns over the implications of a diagnosis of a patient over video conferencing software. Some doctors have said that without the ability to check certain areas of the body from touch and sight they may not be able to give a fully comprehensive diagnosis to every patients. Video Calling will never replace gut instinct and if patient was misdiagnosed then there are mainly concerned that costly medical negligence claims against doctors will arise.
Parents want to protect their children and at the moment there is not a system in place to protect both patients and doctors against misuse of the software. Fears of the misuse of video calling have centred around the security of the information held on such video conferencing systems like Skype. People fear that if an account got hacked, personal information could be used and manipulated along with prescription services.
Without a system or a process in place, people will continue to air concerns over video conferencing. This services a lot of potential to help families cope in times of sickness, which can ultimately help families have hassle free services in their own homes or offices. Not only could it help families, it could help businesses and the economy as fewer illnesses may reduce sick-days and less congestion on the roads.