France has become the first European country to reimburse the costs associated with remote monitoring of patients with chronic medical conditions. The initiative aims to reduce hospitalizations and enhance patient well-being. Starting from July 1, the country's health insurance scheme, Assurance Maladie, has begun refunding the expenses incurred during these remote checks, which are sometimes conducted through video calls. What is medical remote monitoring? Medical remote monitoring, known as "télésurveillance médicale" in French, involves the use of video or biomedical devices to allow healthcare professionals to monitor a patient's condition. This can include devices such as glycemic monitors, pacemakers, or other biomedical tools. It's important to note that télésurveillance médicale differs from téléconsultation, which refers to doctor appointments conducted via video. However, video calls may be incorporated into medical remote monitoring if necessary. Distance monitoring eliminates the need for patients to make frequent in-person visits to healthcare practitioners or rush to the hospital in case of an issue. Instead, patients may need to perform specific regular tasks at home and report the results to their doctor. For instance, they might be required to measure their blood pressure, monitor their weight, and complete a brief questionnaire every week, with the data being sent to their doctor. One patient, Jean-Louis Bernard, aged 74 from Caen, shared his experience with Le Monde, stating, "When you have a chronic illness, your condition can rapidly deteriorate, and if you're not careful, you may end up in the emergency room, even after consuming a meal that's too salty. Thanks to this tool, medical teams can respond to even the slightest alert and advise me remotely." His wife, Michelle, emphasized the invaluable assistance provided by remote monitoring, as it has prevented Jean-Louis from being hospitalized since he started using it, whereas hospitalizations were previously frequent. Why has reimbursement been extended to all individuals in need? The decision to make remote monitoring reimbursements accessible to all aims to achieve the following objectives: - Enhance the quality of care for patients undergoing distance monitoring. - Reduce hospitalizations and emergency room admissions by enabling patients to receive care at home. - Update healthcare processes and enhance care organization. - Improve patients' quality of life and overall comfort. Which conditions are eligible for distance monitoring? Since 2014, remote medical monitoring has been covered on an experimental basis under the ETAPES program (Experiments de télémédecine pour l'amélioration des parcours en santé) for the following five conditions: - Chronic respiratory failure - Chronic heart failure - Chronic renal failure - Diabetes Cardiac arrhythmia requiring cardiac prostheses The ETAPES program has now concluded, and distance monitoring can be implemented for any patients whose healthcare professionals determine the necessity, particularly for those who are at risk of hospitalization or health complications. The Ministry of Health has emphasized that patients must be fully informed about the process and provide their consent for monitoring. Which healthcare professionals can offer télésurveillance? According to Assurance Maladie, any doctor can refer a patient for remote monitoring. However, only healthcare professionals "whose specialities are referred to in the ministerial decrees registering telemonitoring activities, whatever their sector of practice and their place of practice” are authorized to carry out remote medical monitoring. These professionals can operate from general practitioner surgeries, nursing homes, health centers, hospitals, or clinics. *Photo by John Valette via Pexels
Your body has an incredible ability to communicate with you, often alerting you when something doesn't feel quite right. Whether it's a persistent pain, an unusual symptom, or simply a gut feeling that something is off, paying attention to these signals is crucial for maintaining your health and well-being. In such situations, seeking prompt medical attention from a qualified doctor can make all the difference. This article highlights the importance of seeing a doctor when you suspect something might be wrong and why it is a decision that should not be taken lightly. Early detection improves prognosis One of the most significant reasons to consult a doctor when you have concerns about your health is the potential for early detection of serious conditions. Many illnesses and diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular problems, and chronic conditions, can manifest with subtle warning signs. By visiting a doctor promptly, you increase the likelihood of catching potential issues in their early stages, when they are often more treatable and have better prognoses. Accurate diagnosis and treatment When you try to self-diagnose or rely on unreliable sources, you run the risk of misidentifying your symptoms or underestimating their severity. Only a trained healthcare professional can conduct a thorough examination, review your medical history, and order appropriate tests to provide an accurate diagnosis. Timely and accurate diagnosis is the key to effective treatment. Without it, you may delay necessary interventions or resort to ineffective remedies, potentially exacerbating the problem and jeopardizing your health. Prevention and proactive healthcare Regular check-ups and preventive care are essential for maintaining optimal health. Even if you feel fine, routine medical visits allow doctors to monitor your well-being, identify potential risk factors, and suggest necessary lifestyle modifications to prevent future health issues. By seeing a doctor when you suspect something is wrong, you actively engage in proactive healthcare, prioritizing prevention rather than waiting for a crisis to occur. Prevention is not only more cost-effective but also leads to better health outcomes and a higher quality of life in the long run. Professional guidance and peace of mind Navigating the vast sea of medical information available on the internet can be overwhelming and misleading. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment based on unverified sources can lead to unnecessary anxiety or inadequate care. Consulting a doctor provides you with expert guidance based on years of medical education and experience. A healthcare professional can help alleviate your concerns, provide accurate information, and offer appropriate treatment options, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing you are in capable hands. A holistic approach to health Doctors are not just there to treat specific ailments; they are also trained to consider the bigger picture of your overall health and well-being. When you seek medical attention, a doctor will assess your symptoms within the context of your medical history, lifestyle, and personal circumstances. They can identify underlying factors that may contribute to your symptoms and provide comprehensive care that addresses your physical, mental, and emotional needs. This holistic approach can help you achieve optimal health and prevent future health issues. Final thoughts When you sense that something is wrong with your body, it's crucial not to ignore the signs or rely solely on self-diagnosis. Seeking medical attention from a qualified doctor is a prudent decision that can save lives, lead to accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatments, facilitate preventive care, provide professional guidance, and ensure a holistic approach to your well-being. Remember, your health is too precious to gamble with, so trust your instincts, prioritize your well-being, and make that appointment with a doctor when you suspect something might be wrong. Your future self will thank you. At France Surgery, we can help you get a second opinion from our network of medical experts in France. Contact us today to find out more. *Image by Max from Pixabay
We’ve written before about how telehealth has come into its own during the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, the coronavirus pandemic has driven the adoption of telehealth services, and it’s not just younger patients that have been taking advantage, according to a new report. Contrary to popular belief, older patients have also been embracing telehealth services, as shown in a recent report by Strata Decision Technology. Based on data collected from 43 health systems, as well as telehealth visit data from the American Medical Association and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the report shows that while telehealth visit utilization was highest for the 30–39 age cohort (27.95%), individuals in their 70s (22.52%), 80s (20.29%), and even 90s (19.04%) have been utilizing telehealth offerings. Jeffrey Gelblum, MD, a practicing neurologist at First Choice Neurology in Aventura, Florida, says telehealth is enabling older patients to access healthcare services they may otherwise have missed out on. “Historically, we had to deal with older folks who may not be able to drive and older folks who would have difficulty finding a parking space. If the weather was bad, some older folks did not want to go to a doctor appointment. Driving for older folks is problematic in terms of compliance. But now with telehealth, that situation has been resolved,” he says. Telehealth also allows older patients to see their physicians more often than if they were having to attend face-to-face appointments.
In a previous blog post — what is telehealth? — we wrote about telehealth services and some of the benefits they afford. Today, we are going to follow on from that post by looking at how telehealth has come into its own during the ongoing pandemic. The COVID-19 crisis has meant that millions of people all over the world have had to stay at home, observe social distancing guidelines, and not make any unnecessary trips. But what do you do if you need medical advice or a check-up by your doctor in the middle of a pandemic, with such restrictions in place? Well, according to new research, many seniors are turning to telehealth services so they can keep abreast of their medical needs at this difficult time. In fact, the figures from healthinsurance.com show that overall use of telemedicine services among seniors has increased by a whopping 300% during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, 30% of survey respondents said they have used telehealth services at least once a month since the COVID-19 crisis occurred. The beauty of telehealth services, such as virtual doctor appointments, is that they are all conducted via the Internet or telephone. Therefore, the patient does not even need to leave the comfort of their home to get a medical opinion — a reality that is particularly beneficial for vulnerable seniors. Want to find out more about the various telehealth services France Surgery provides? Contact us today. We’d love to hear from you.
The total cost in lost working time of UK employees travelling to appointments with their doctors last year was a staggering £1.5bn, new research reveals. According to a report published by health insurance firm AXA PPP Healthcare, online General Practitioner (GP) appointments could play a significant role in boosting efficiencies across both business and healthcare. The report, produced by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), suggests that if virtual appointments were used in the first instance, the number of face-to-face GP appointments conducted last year could have been reduced by 50m. In addition, virtual appointments eliminate the need for patients to travel, thus reducing their chances of being exposed to the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, they allow GPs to reduce their risk of exposure too. The CEBR report also highlights how online consultations, which can be more easily booked, amended, and cancelled, would help reduce the number of missed appointments. NHS Digital figures show that this is an issue, with one in 20 GP appointments recorded as ‘did not attend’ in 2019. By enabling patients to more easily manage appointments, online GP services could free up the equivalent of 60 years of GP consultation time per year. Whether the prevalence of virtual GP services continues to grow once the COVID-10 pandemic is over remains to be seen. What is certain is that they are playing a vital role as the crisis continues.