Need to see your doc­tor on your smart­phone?

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Ryon Jones Staff Re­porter ryon.jones@glean­erjm.com

Now there is an app for that

PUB­LIC HEALTH care in Ja­maica has been made cheaper since the re­moval of user fees, but this has re­sulted in per­sons hav­ing to en­dure lengthy wait times in or­der to re­ceive med­i­cal at­ten­tion at pub­lic hos­pi­tals. Not to men­tion the prob­lems users face with in­ad­e­quate ser­vice and scarce med­i­cal sup­plies and med­i­ca­tion.

Now, one of Ja­maica’s lead­ing, note­wor­thy doc­tors is seek­ing to use tech­nol­ogy to rem­edy the prob­lem, with the cre­ation of a new app that will al­low per­sons to re­motely con­sult with their doc­tor.

Dr Win­ston David­son, the con­cep­tu­aliser be­hind the app, Doc­tor on Call, is tout­ing it as a game changer in Ja­maica, as it will al­low for fast, easy and cost­ef­fec­tive ac­cess to health care.

Now in the trial phase, Doc­tor on Call can be down­loaded from the Google and Ap­ple Play stores to any smart de­vice, or by us­ing the Chrome or Fire­fox browsers on lap­tops or per­sonal com­put­ers to ac­cess it from www.doc­toron­call­ja­maica.com. It is ex­pected to be fully op­er­a­tional by early next year.

“Six­teen years of work has been put into de­vel­op­ing this par­tic­u­lar app. It is a method of ap­ply­ing in­for­ma­tion and tech­nol­ogy to medicine and the man­age­ment of pa­tients by their doc­tors,” said David­son, who has been prac­tis­ing medicine for over 45 years.

“It is us­ing best-prac­tice tech­nol­ogy; known as We­bRTC (Real-Time com­mu­ni­ca­tion), which is the most mod­ern plat­form. And it is us­ing the ubiq­ui­tous tech­nol­ogy in­stru­ment of the cell phones, as the means of clin­i­cal en­coun­ters be­tween the doc­tor and the pa­tient.”

He con­tin­ued, “In so do­ing, what you are do­ing is cre­at­ing the doc­tor’s vir­tual clinic and we are also vir­tu­al­is­ing the doc­tor.”

Vi­jay Sa­chet is re­spon­si­ble for the tech­nol­ogy be­hind the app, which al­lows users to video-con­fer­ence with a doc­tor; sched­ule a vir­tual ap­point­ment or go into of­fice to meet with the doc­tor phys­i­cally. Doc­tors can also elec­tron­i­cally send pre­scrip­tions to their pa­tients which can then be taken to a phar­macy to be filled.

RIGHTS AND CON­FI­DEN­TIAL­ITY

“This par­tic­u­lar tool, Doc­tor on Call, is very rig­or­ously en­crypted to pro­tect the rights and con­fi­den­tial­ity be­tween pa­tients and their doc­tors,” David­son said. “It is chang­ing the process of health care fun­da­men­tally, be­cause it is giv­ing the pa­tient greater ac­cess to the ser­vices of doc­tors from any­where in the world.”

David­son, who has worked in both the pri­vate and pub­lic health-care sys­tem, be­lieves the app, which is avail­able free of cost to both pa­tients and doc­tors, will prove more cost-ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient for per­sons than if they were to go in of­fice to see a doc­tor.

“The cost to the pa­tient of the ser­vice is ac­tu­ally go­ing to be about less than half to come in and see a doc­tor,

which means that more peo­ple are go­ing to be able to see the doc­tor in their own homes, tak­ing the pres­sure off the health ser­vice sys­tem, es­pe­cially the hospi­tal out­pa­tient sys­tem and even the pri­mary care,” David­son said. “So it is a sup­port to the ex­ist­ing sys­tem and giv­ing univer­sal ac­cess to pa­tients.”

The vet­eran doc­tor said sev­eral user ac­cep­tance test and al­pha and beta test­ing have been car­ried out and they are now fully pub­lished for pro­duc­tion. Per­sons will also be re­quired to pay re­motely, us­ing debit and credit cards, with the cost dif­fer­ing from doc­tor to doc­tor.

“When the pa­tient is go­ing to en­gage the ser­vices of his doc­tor, the pa­tient will see what it is go­ing to cost,” David­son pointed out. “And if the pa­tient thinks the cost is too ex­pen­sive, the pa­tient has the op­tion to go and find an­other doc­tor.”

DAVID­SON

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