Doctors wary about consulting online
According to Andrew Brown, operations executive at Altron HealthTech (providing billing systems to doctors), the technology for telemedicine is “terrific” and works well, but “doctors haven’t taken to it” - even though “patients are saying there is no way they are going in” to their doctor’s practice. (Business Times 31 January 2021).
In the first three months of 2020 less than 0.5% of billings were for virtual consultations. This increased to 8% in July and in January this year was 6%.
According to a recent Twitter survey by Altron a high percentage of patients prefer in-person consultations as opposed to using an online platform.
The discrepancy in the remuneration doctors receive for online (R250 – R300) and face-to-face consultation (about R400) makes it less financially viable for doctors to embrace the technology.