You can use your existing Medical Independent, MediLearning or PharmacistCPD account to log in. is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

The benefits of registering: only registered users:
  • receive the ecCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • have automatic access to our free CPD sites.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz.

Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

Download the new Mindo app for both IOS & Android.

  • Get notified when a story goes live
  • Access Premium Content
  • Read Offline
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public"]

You are reading 1 of 2 free-access articles allowed for 30 days

Use of telemedicine ‘exploded’ during pandemic

By Dermot - 22nd Oct 2020 | 5 views

32nd IHCA AGM, Saturday 10 October 2020, Virtual Annual General Meeting and Conference

The use of telemedicine has “exploded” during the Covid-19 crisis and more training for doctors is required, the IHCA annual conference was told. Dr Graham Billingham, Chief Medical Officer, MedPro, Berkshire Hathaway, told attendees that “it is forecast that this will be a US$29 billion industry going forward and that between 10 and 20 per cent of all office visits in the future may be from telemedicine”.

Dr Billingham presented research from the experience in the United States. It was noted at the conference that the recent trend towards telemedicine use has also been reflected in other developed nations, including Ireland. In the US, during the current crisis, hospital and clinic visits dropped and telemedicine consultations increased.

“It wasn’t one for one, they didn’t completely displace hospital visits and as hospital visits have come back over the last four months, telemedicine has dropped back down, to currently between 10-20 per cent,” said Dr Billingham.

He noted that recent months have exposed how 10 per cent of the US population has limited access to Wi-Fi “so we had a digital divide… we [are also] very concerned about doing adequate physical exams through telemedicine”.

Telemedicine’s limitations where there are language barriers, and in delivering consultations for people with an intellectual or cognitive disability, was also referenced.

“We have seen a marked increase in patient volume,” continued Dr Billingham.

“Patients are more complex, almost every speciality was involved with telemedicine. There is a marked increase in the use of this technology and we all know that technology has learning curves associated with it and we have been struggling with those in order to meet the needs of our patients.

“We don’t think telemedicine is going away and we expect to see more development in this area and it should be easier in the future for practitioners to deliver the service.”

The experience during the pandemic was that telemedicine seemed to work better for GPs with established patients rather than new patients. Also addressing the conference, Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director, Medical Protection Society, said telemedicine has pros and cons.

“But as we get used to it, probably through the training side I think we can get the good bits as well as the limitations.”

“Doctors have almost been on a self-taught crash course during this [pandemic],” he said.

“There is going to be a lot more training. We certainly have been producing a series of training webinars and so forth. A lot of specialities have adopted it and come at it in different ways.

“I think GPs probably have been more used to assessing people remotely. I was speaking to one person who was running a fracture clinic and using video, and that is perhaps where they were not used to doing it. Training is important. Technology will be improving, there is huge investment going into new platforms.

“I think for some specialities it may well become mainstream. For example, certainly speaking to a number of rheumatologists, a number of them have found that really positive and we have also had some good feedback from psychiatrists on its use.”

Leave a Reply

[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]
Latest Issue
The Medical Independent – 24 June 2021

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

[the_ad_placement id="main-mpu-public"]
Most Read
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-public-2"]
[the_ad_placement id="main-ldb-mobile-public-2"]