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Telemedicine: The future of healthcare in Nigeria

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Telemedicine, otherwise called telehealth or e-health, involves the process of getting access to doctors and care providers online, without physical contact.  The World Health Organization (WHO) gives a more broadened definition of telemedicine as the delivery of health care services by health care professionals using information and communication technologies (ICT) for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and injuries. These are done in the interest of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.

The concept of remote monitoring of patients by care practitioners is not entirely new in present-day medical practice. A research on its origin reports that telemedicine technology first began as a form of healthcare delivery in the late 1960s.

However, the use of telemedicine in Nigeria only commenced in the year 2007 when the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) and Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) inaugurated its pilot project in a few teaching hospitals and Federal Medical Centres across the country.

As Nigerians, having witnessed a number of epidemics in the last decade like Lassa fever, Ebola and the most recent COVID-19, Telemedicine is almost perfect for the management of communicable diseases since there is barely physical contact required for providing and receiving care. Telemedicine majorly provides protection to both the physician and patient, preventing possible spread of such diseases while allowing for continuing patient care.

READ: Top 5 Benefits of Online Doctor Consultations in Nigeria.

Now more than ever, telemedicine and telehealth services are gaining traction and drawing the attention of Nigerians as health tech solutions continue to bring to the fore its immense benefits to the average man/woman who desires easy and quicker access to quality healthcare.

Even though the surface is barely scratched, some of the benefits which positions telemedicine (telehealth) as the future of healthcare in Nigeria are as follows:

1) Telemedicine serves as a viable means of making up for the inadequacy in the number of doctors, nurses and care providers available to serve the ever increasing Nigerian population. Therefore, telemedicine in Nigeria can potentially enhance the general wellbeing and quality of health of the population by helping to make up the growing deficit in healthcare professionals in the country.

2) Telemedicine minimizes the delay in obtaining quality healthcare due to transit time of patients to hospitals and clinics especially in commercial cities like Lagos, Port Harcourt, Abuja and Kano which currently face the challenge of traffic jam.

3) Telemedicine increases access to affordable and quality health services and information in rural communities. This is to say that telemedicine affords patients in remote locations the ability to access medical expertise quickly and efficiently without the need to travel.

READ ALSO: How To Access Timely, Cost-effective And Quality Healthcare In Nigeria.

4) Telemedicine encourages and facilitates continuity of care in a way that reduces cost of in-person visits by the patient and time spent on patient by the doctor. With Online Doctor Consultation, the patient decides when and how to see his/her doctor based on the doctor’s availability. This means that they both meet at a time that works best for the both of them. 

5) Telemedicine affords patients “convenience.” The fact that a patient can Speak with a Doctor from the comfort of his/her home or office takes modern healthcare delivery to a whole new level. Terminal patients, persons who have a special need child(ren) or living with the elderly can help them access care without having to go through the stress of going or taking them to the hospital for non-emergency Doctor Consultations. Thus, through telemedicine, the elderly, special needs children and terminal patients can gain convenient access to routine care without the risk of exposure to an already crowded hospital or waiting rooms.

RELATED: Why you need to offer Telemedicine and Telehealth Services in your Hospital.

From the foregoing, one cannot agree more to the assertion of the American Telemedicine Association that “Telemedicine is the future of medicine.” As a patient, this is the best time to try out telemedicine (if you haven’t started yet). You will definitely be surprised at the premium care you have been missing all along. Consult a Doctor on KompleteCare today to experience and enjoy the many benefits of telemedicine.

Do you feel sick and have been reluctant to visit the hospital? At a very affordable price, all that is required of you to access professional doctors on KompleteCare is basically your smart phone and internet connection. Consult a Doctor now.

If you are a doctor who is enthusiastic about health tech solutions and providing patient-centered care beyond your location, then you can also Register on KompleteCare today.

The platform enables physicians and patients to communicate 24/7, using smartphones or webcam-enabled computers to provide and receive care respectively.

Conclusion

Although Telemedicine has its challenges especially in developing countries like Nigeria, it has come to stay. An appreciable number of doctors and hospitals are adopting telemedicine approaches in healthcare delivery as it contributes to the benefits of patients and healthcare providers.

All over the world, technological advancement in medical practice is creating rooms for positive changes in the best interest of patients especially in how patients access care. Telemedicine affords the Nigerian health sector endless possibilities, and the earlier everyone – patients, doctors and hospitals – embrace the change, the better.

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Ginika is the Lead health writer at KompleteCare. She also doubles as an editor and proofreader for everything that concerns content. When she's not writing content for KompleteCare, you might find her copy-editing works for authors before publication.

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