According to researchers, a new study shows that getting primary care physicians and their patients together with specialists through videoconferencing technology is an excellent way to extend the communication between doctors and patients.
Doctors from the Royal University College Medical School in London tested the "virtual outreach" method in a group of more than 2,000 patients seen at an urban and rural health care facility. About half the group took part in virtual consultations while the rest were referred to specialists in the traditional manner. The study is the largest of its kind ever to be conducted using a telemedicine approach to care.
Although slightly more of the practical outreach patients were offered a follow up appointment with the specialist after the initial consultation, fewer of these patients underwent additional tests and investigations than did their standard care counterparts. On average, patients who participated in the videoconferencing sessions with their primary care physician and the specialist had. Researchers also found patient satisfaction was significantly higher in the virtual outreach group.