Today, we will start with the field of oncology. Do you know why telehealth applications are discussed with oncology? The reason is on fingertips that put lights on the Covid-19 infusion and social period. How Does Telehealth Help in Breast Cancer?
Let us start with some data and facts that can help us understand more about it.
This is the percentage of users that consult doctors via telemedicine, you can tally the percentage of the users and overall if we see it is 55% of average users from all fields use telemedicine.
This is the shift in the percentage of the patients within the oncology department, the use of telemedicine in curing the disease and depicts the challenges. Probably the exposure of telemedicine will revive because of Covid-19 safeguarding. The patients and providers both feel better because of the easy availability of care.
The questions arise in the mind regarding its application:
When to use telemedicine for breast cancer?
For the medical treatment in urgency and also telehealth solutions are becoming more sustainable, if the patient is also looking for the second option of a regular check-up then also it will take care of. Let’s talk about the benefits and challenges of telemedicine in curing breast cancer.
To prepare for easy consultation:
Telehealth applications can help you in reducing the time and managing things in the proper time, as patients can upload the insurance materials and other details through the telecare platform while travelling, and patients can access directly to doctors’ cabins.
After the abnormalities in mammogram:
Initially, the patient can check the abnormalities, with the mammogram, if she finds cancer to be nonpalpable means there’s no lump found in your breast then too patient is feeling the abnormalities, if we are talking about the mammogram we should have a look at how mammogram seems to be? It is nothing but a type of scanning like X-ray.
Regular consultations and checkups:
The doctor sees the patient in person, then it will carry forward with the video calls, virtual audio calls and E-prescription. During the consultation, your doctor will follow up on your reports and prescription. The recent
scans and medicine and medication are already followed by the applications with telemedicine.
You can do your post-surgery check-up with telemedicine by providing the doctor with a proper camera vision and concerns, it probably seems that the patient may not have any side effects and reactions to the medicines that are already taken.
For new symptoms or side effects:
If the patient feels the side effects like nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, mouth sores or anything then you can immediately consult the doctor via telemedicine application and he will engage his team till you make sure that you are comfortable.
If a patient is experiencing serious side effects then she should consult the doctor, and the team will carry onwards.
- Side effects that patients feel can easily treat with telemedicine:
- Hair changes
- Mouth soreness
- Vaginal dryness
- Change in taste or smell
- Menopause symptoms
- To enroll in a cancer clinical trial:
If the patient enrolls in the clinical trial then the virtual consultation makes the proper judgement of the diseases and gives the proper medication. It will also give you the screening and monitoring to reach to the proper treatment.
- Seeking the second option:
If the patient is seeking the second option then telehealth can be a better choice. In the initial stages, it can help you with on-time reports, scans and medicines. Then if after some time you visit new oncologists then he might not face any difficulty in your inspection and medications.
- Diversity in care:
With the help of telemedicine, the patient will get multidisciplinary care from the doctors, nurses, oncologists and other practitioners. Telehealth makes it mandatory for the multi practitioners to connect at the same time and give the recommendation regarding the sufferings.
Using telehealth services has its benefits and challenges too because as it is new in curing breast cancer so there are few challenges and those are as follows:
- Time-efficient & Cost-efficient:
We know that treatments of breast cancer are very costly and time-consuming because the patients have to wait for long in the queue, in the filing process, and in the travelling, they also have to wait to check the availability of the special oncologist. With the help of telehealth, this process will become easier as it cares virtually and efficiently.
You can call or message doctors anytime, the doctors are 24/7 available there.
- Adorable treatment:
Patients suffering from chronic diseases have more mental pressure and feel more emotional breakdowns. With the help of telemedicine, patients feel more connected with their loved ones because everyone can execute the medical plans and take care of them. Telehealth stands good in maintaining emotional care and medical care that helps the patient to recover more positively and carefully.
- Better quality of life:
Patients using telehealth services feel the improvement in the quality of life, their families are also recommending timely facilities which will be more efficient with telemedicine. Patients’ satisfaction and independence are also increasing with the help of telehealth facilities.
- Few Drawbacks: (not actually drawbacks, but it’s a matter of concern.)
We shall discuss some of the concerns that many patients are facing while using telehealth services, along with the pros there are some cons too with every technology and advancement, some patients felt the fear of privacy while engaging with the online services, and other patients feel less comfortable in examining and screening the tumours.
Telehealth services will not replace the actual physical examination but it can act as a saviour for the patients who need urgent care and recommendations.
How to prepare for a telehealth visit for breast cancer?
Prepare precisely for the virtual appointment and ask for your guidance to make you feel comfortable mentally, make sure your connection and system work better, check the data connection along with the comfortable space.
- On the day of the appointment:
- Make sure your device is charged properly
- Make sure your medicine and files are with you before the consultation starts
- Write down all the doubts that you have about treatments, and make sure you ask them all without forgetting
- While consulting make sure you wear very light clothes so that if the doctor wants to see your surgery wounds you can manage it quickly, and make sure to check the privacy settings of calls and applications before calling the doctor.
- Sit with the pen and diary to take notes which doctor gives you.
What happens at the time of visit?
At the time of virtual visits, make sure you logged in properly so that you can record the screen in case you have a problem in remembering things, or in case of future problems.
Make yourself comfortable as you do with your family members and discuss all your points thoroughly.
Every innovation has some limitations so before starting the visit you should acknowledge your mind with those limitations.
Appointment with a new specialist:
The new specialist will ask you all about your history of cancer and especially breast cancer, be ready for the detailed description, your new oncologist is new for you, so he may start with all the basic questions like how long you have cancer, what are the symptoms and problems you faced, allergies if any you had gone through while the treatment, the eating and sleeping pattern and all basics, just relax and answer them, make sure of not getting irritated with the questions.
Followup calls and visits:
During the follow-up calls the team members and practitioners access you with questions regarding your allergies and medications, how it was going on and how you feel after the medications. They create the follow-up sheet with all your answers and reports and will present them to the doctor for surveillance.
If in case the doctor feels that the given medication does not suit you and you should go with the different medications then he will send the E-prescription to the selected medical store and the medical store’s staff will guide you about the other treatments and how to take them.
Will insurance cover the telehealth services?
Talking about the insurance policy in telehealth, well the insurance is not fully covered like surgery but the National Consortium Of Telehealth Center offers the policy database that keeps tracking the billing of telehealth services. If you do not have insurance then you can use telehealth services from your pocket.
Service providers should provide the legal authenticated source to communicate, according to the HIPAA guidelines 1996, it means the applications like Facebook, TikTok can not be used for the patients’ consultation.
Diagnosing breast cancer is a stressful condition, while using telehealth services for easy consultation is a good option, it can make you avoid trips to the doctors’ clinic and limit the exposure to covid-19. Your families also get satisfied with that which can bring comfortness from within,‘White-Label Telemedicine Solution’ [well’ if you feel the pain and the lump inside you should consult on an urgent basis. Stay safe## stay healthy.]