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Medical Council report looks at ‘challenges and benefits’ of telemedicine

There has been a five-fold increase in the use of telemedicine since March 2020 according to a new report from the Medical Council.

Research carried out in October 2020 by Behaviour and Attitudes on behalf of the Medical Council showed that 21 per cent of the population had used a telemedicine service, up from 4 per cent of the population in March.

“While telemedicine can never replace traditional face to face consultations with patients, when used appropriately, it can compliment it and enhance the doctor patience experience,” said Council President Dr Rita Doyle.

“The Medical Council had a number of concerns about telemedicine before the pandemic and a Working Group was established to examine these issues, but the impact of the pandemic has made this report even more important and its findings should be considered in the context of the future of healthcare delivery in Ireland.”

Chair of the Telemedicine Working Group, Mr Paul Harkin, said that the growth of telemedicine in Ireland reflected a broader modernisation of healthcare within an international context.

“The continued evolution of widely accessible technology represents an exciting period for medicine as accessing care becomes ever more widespread and convenient,” said Mr Harkin.

“This report recognises the importance of supporting this emerging area of healthcare in Ireland to ensure that its associated benefits can be maximised to enhance the standard of care for Irish patients, while also ensuring that an appropriate regulatory environment is created to continue to ensure patients are protected.”

The Telemedicine Working Group was established by the Medical Council to investigate telemedicine in patient care and its effectiveness in other jurisdictions, as well as exploring resulting effects on registration, service provision and ethical guidance for doctors.

Report available herehttps://www.medicalcouncil.ie/public-information/telemedicine-phone-and-video-consultations-guide-for-doctors/report-of-the-telemedicine-working-group-april-2021.pdf


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