What is telemedicine/telehealth?
Telemedicine has been around for many years.
According the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) it is defined as “The practice of medicine using electronic communications, information technology or other electronic means between a healthcare practitioner in one location and a healthcare practitioner in another location for the purpose of facilitating, improving and enhancing clinical, educational and scientific healthcare and research, particularly to the under serviced areas in the Republic of South Africa” (HPCSA, 2014).
Furthermore, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines telehealth “delivery of health care services, where patients and providers are separated by distance. Telehealth uses ICT for the exchange of information for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health professionals. Telehealth can contribute to achieving universal health coverage by improving access for patients to quality, cost-effective, health services wherever they may be. It is particularly valuable for those in remote areas, vulnerable groups and ageing populations”.
What is the HPCSA view on telemedicine with regards to biokinetics?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the objective in South Africa was to deliver healthcare services at a distance to communities which lacked health care facilities.
With our current situation (COVID-19 pandemic) that we find ourselves in, more healthcare professional are moving over to telehealth or in the case of biokinetics: Tele-rehabilitation.
The situation we currently find ourselves in is rapidly changing, and with this comes new terms and conditions as we go along. Up until recently, the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) required that there had to be a previous relationship between patient and healthcare provider (current patient before the lockdown).
However, as the situation (COVID-19) unfolded HPCSA has since changed their regulations. Currently, Biokineticists may see new patients via telehealth. At stage four lockdown regulations, Biokineticists are allowed to see patients face-to-face, however this is only when absolutely essential.
First choice of consultation is still telehealth/video conferencing.
More info Telehealth sessions at our practice and what is required from the patient.
ONLINE PLATFORM USED
Cisco WebEx teams (We can’t use skype/zoom as it does not have end-to-end encryption and thus does not comply with POPI or PAIA).
You will need to download this app from the following website (https://www.webex.com/) it’s a free platform and easy to use.
Additional consent is required for telehealth sessions before we can get started as stipulated by HPCSA.
The first session is free. We’ve noticed that it takes a bit of time to set up laptop/phone/other devices for the session as well as getting used to the space used.
It is also an opportunity for you discuss any concerns you might have.
Cost: R300 per session (this amount only applies for telehealth sessions during the COVID-19 pandemic).
If you are on Discovery, they will pay for telehealth services. It is required that we let Discovery know beforehand that we will be conducting a session.
Some medical aids will not pay for telehealth services, please check with your respective medical aid before sessions should you wish to claim back.
Telehealth sessions will be valid until further notice from HPCSA.
We can do a lot of rehabilitation without equipment, however, some basics do come in handy.
Let me know what equipment you have (e.g. Mat, balls, weights, resistance bands, stable chair etc.) This will assist in whether I can do a telehealth session with you or not.
FOR MORE INFO ON OUR TELEHEALTH SERVICES PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.
HPCSA (2014), “Booklet no: 10 Guidelines for good Practice in the Healthcare Professions: General Ethical Guidelines for Good Practice in Telemedicine”. Available from: < https://www.hpcsa.co.za/Uploads/Professional_Practice/Conduct%20%26%20Ethics/Booklet%2010%20Telemedicine%20September%20%202016.pdf>. [Accessed on 3 May 2020].
WHO (2016), “Telehealth: Analysis of third global survey on eHealth based on reported data by countries, 2016”. Available from: < https://www.who.int/gho/goe/telehealth/en/> Accessed on 3 May 2020].Follow us