Telemedicine is an innovative alternative which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly among travelers and expatriates. Through this type of consultation, you can seek the opinion of a healthcare professional wherever you are by video call. Find out all you need to know about telemedicine here.
Medical consultation by video chat has developed significantly in recent years, to the extent that a wide range of healthcare professionals offer these services today. You can consult general practitioners or specialists (pediatricians, psychiatrists, gynecologists, dermatologists, ophthalmologists, oral surgeon, etc.) in relation to a variety of conditions. The practitioner will determine whether or not it is possible to make a diagnosis by video. General medicine accounts for more than 65% of consultations. Patients mainly use telemedicine for common symptoms (colds, fevers, headaches, digestive problems, coughs, sore throats, skin conditions, etc.). Pediatricians are also highly sought-after for teleconsultations, as are gynecologists, psychiatrists and dermatologists. It is also possible to have a teleconsultation with a general practitioner to obtain a prescription or repeat prescription, information on blood test results or to order tests.
Rates for teleconsultations may be identical to those of office visits but practitioners who offer teleconsultations are free to apply a surcharge. Practitioners’ rates are generally displayed on the teleconsultation platform and payments can be made on-line, by check or by bank transfer. You may also be entitled to direct billing if such an agreement exists between your complementary health insurance provider and your health insurance organization. Furthermore, medical teleconsultations are generally well reimbursed, though this depends on your country of expatriation, your health insurance system and the benefits in your complementary health insurance plan.
To use telemedicine services, you must register with a medical teleconsultation platform. You can select a practitioner and make an appointment on the platform. One of the advantages of telemedicine is being able to obtain a consultation very quickly. On average, an appointment with a general practitioner can be made a few hours ahead, while you may have to wait a few days for a consultation with a specialist. On the day of your appointment, log onto the platform and have a video chat with the healthcare professional. The average duration of a teleconsultation is 15 minutes for a general practitioner and 30 minutes for a specialist. The doctor will ask you questions and you can describe your symptoms, as you would during an office visit. After the discussion, the professional may make a diagnosis, refer you to a specialist, prescribe drugs or a test or recommend that you see a doctor in person if your symptoms require a clinical examination.
Telemedicine is a very useful alternative when on a long trip or living abroad. Wherever you are in the world, you enjoy access to a consultation in your native language, with a practitioner who shares your cultural references. Dialogue is therefore smooth, easy and without constraint. Another major advantage for expatriates is the option of seeing a tele-consultant able to provide you with a prescription that is valid in your host country (option provided by some international platforms). Where necessary, the practitioner can also provide a supporting document for sick leave or a medical certificate valid and in compliance with the legislation in your country of residence. To facilitate your expatriation and teleconsultations, you can enjoy the services of Eutelmed and MédecinDirect (French subsidiary of the global teleconsultation leader Teladoc), two of MSH International’s trusted partners. Teleconsultations on these platforms are reimbursed like office visits, according to the benefits set out in your international health insurance plan.