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Medical Council releases new telemedicine guide for doctors

An increased shift towards telemedicine since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant doctors have had to adapt to a new way of working. In response to this, the Medical Council has released a new online resource for medical practitioners on telemedicine.

The guide, which is available on the Medical Council’s website, contains information and practical advice for doctors who now utilise telemedicine systems for a large proportion of consultations.

Research carried out in October by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Medical Council showed there has been a five-fold increase in the use of telemedicine since March 2020. By October this year, 21 per cent of the population had used a telemedicine service, up from 4 per cent of the population in March.

Satisfaction with the service, which includes phone and video consultations, was high with 80 per cent of those who used telemedicine either satisfied or very satisfied.

The impact of Covid-19 has meant that telemedicine has now become an integral part of medicine. Telemedicine can help patients who are vulnerable receive necessary care, provide patients with more convenient access to care, ease of access for those in isolated locations, allow for more comprehensive delivery of services after-hours and allow for more efficient use of limited health resources. Telemedicine is particularly useful when it is part of an existing system for providing patient care.

Following on from the launch of the Council’s similarly themed guide for patients, this information booklet for doctors covers topics including CPD, obtaining patient consent around telemedicine, and protecting patient confidentiality.

The guide is designed to be used in conjunction with the Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners (Amended) 8th Edition. The guidance document can be downloaded at https://www.medicalcouncil.ie/public-information/telemedicine-phone-and-video-consultations-guide-for-patients/telemedicine-for-doctors-booklet.pdf

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