Online medical service Doctors on Demand has found a way to overcome some of the difficulties with remote healthcare delivery by partnering with pharmacies to deliver more holistic services.
In a country as sparsely populated as Australia it’s no surprise a growing number of people are turning to telehealth services to access healthcare, but Doctors on Demand CEO Kirsty Garrett said that only solves part of the problem.
“Traditionally, most telehealth services in regional areas have been used for specialist services run out of hospitals or health centres, connecting patients with experts in metropolitan areas,” Garrett told iTnews.
“Additionally, they tend to be quite expensive.”
While Doctors on Demand has spent the last four years seeking to overcome that challenge through online consultations with doctors, one of the biggest issues is with what happens after an appointment.
If patients need their things like a vaccine injection, blood pressure monitoring or glucose level checks, conducting telehealth consults in a pharmacy makes sense.
Leveraging the expanding services pharmacists can offer and private rooms often used for flu jabs, Doctor’s on Demand has partnered with 60 pharmacies in regional areas to augment a community’s existing services as part of its InCare project..
“We provide a Lenovo Android tablet to pharmacies on a subscription service, and it comes with the really simple software that patients use, a webcam and microphone so that all pharmacies have to do is connect it to their wi-fi network.
“It’s designed to be as light a footprint as possible. We provision and remotely manage everything for them.”
The GPs can also use the platform to send prescriptions directly to a patient’s preferred pharmacist for collection minutes later.
The InClinic platform runs on a Microsoft full stack coupled with Azure Cloud Services Tokbox WebRTC, ScaleFusion Mobile Device Management and Westpac PayWay for payments processing.
Peter our Chief Technology Officer hard at work getting ready for our #InClinic launch 🙌🏼 #InClinic #pharmacy #comingsoon #doctorsondemand #onlinewhenyouneedthem #accessiblehealthcare pic.twitter.com/2ced0bhNcj
— Doctors on Demand (@doctorsondemand) July 24, 2019
Garrett said the service has proven vastly popular in the regional areas in which it has been trialled.
“This is a great alternative for a country town might only have one GP practice open 9-5, four days a week. What happens if someone gets hurt over the weekend?
“Often they’d just have to go to the Emergency Department to get seen, if the town even had one. And that might be on top of an hour’s drive into town.”
It’s also proven popular with grey nomads, who can use the InClinic Telehealth service as a drop in, or connect to Doctors on Demand’s Quick Script service to get a repeat of medication they’ve safely used before.
This project has been named a finalist in the healthcare category of the iTnews Benchmark Awards 2020.