Providing virtual care during Covid-19 and beyond
15 April 2020
Covid-19 has quickly and profoundly impacted our daily lives around the world. The virus threat will pass, but in the here and now people still need medical treatment unrelated to the coronavirus. What does telemedicine mean for General Global Health members, and how can this service be accessed?
Medical technology has developed rapidly over the last decade or so and telemedicine, as a relatively new form of digital healthcare, is fast becoming mainstream. A temporary period of self-isolation has been imposed by many countries around the world. Social distancing is common place too, and both demands are having a profound effect on the way people are living their lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
Access to medical appointments is particularly difficult with many hospitals, clinics and medical surgeries across Europe and the rest of the world affected. Attending a doctor’s surgery also now brings additional anxieties with many concerned about being near coronavirus carriers, as well as those carrying other diseases.
Yet the provision of regular medicines, management of chronic conditions and treatment for other seasonal illnesses must still continue. In the face of increasing advice to stay at home, medical practitioners in India – for example - are arguing the case for telemedicine with some governments actively encouraging virtual consultations where possible and even making it mandatory for insurers to accept telemedicine referrrals, like the UAE.
Telemedicine to deliver care for our members today
As insurers, being able to provide our members with clinical consultations directly into their homes and workplaces is now paramount, enabling medical professionals to access patients earlier and treat symptoms faster and safely. There is no doubt that as the coronavirus impacts countries and populations around the world, telemedicine is becoming even more critical.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) telehealth can improve health care access and outcomes, particularly for chronic disease treatment and vulnerable groups.
The American Journal of Managed Care points out that: “Telemedicine systems can be used to prevent overcrowding while preventing human exposures and facilitating high-quality care.” Risks are also reduced for front-line medical workers, according to Infection Control Today: “Some hospital systems are turning to telehealth to help protect their employees, as has been recommended by both the CDC and the WHO.”
Telemedicine usage has spiked since the outbreak of coronavirus, with some US providers reporting a 1,000% usage increase and sharp uptakes in China too. In Taiwan, over 3,000 medical institutions are now providing Telemedicine to their quarantined population.
The US has changed federal guidelines to allow wider adoption of telemedicine amongst practitioners during the COVID-19 outbreak, a position that may become increasingly prevalent around the world.
My Digital Doctor: a free telehealth app for Generali Global Health members
Telemedicine has numerous benefits, including:
- Quick and easy scheduling of an appointment, including weekends and evenings, with no travel required
- Diagnosis for straight-forward medical issues
- Initial consultation on more complex conditions
- Treatment of on-going chronic care can be partially managed
- Online medical prescriptions, saving additional time.
As a standard benefit within their plans, Generali Global Health members and their dependents have access to an online doctor service through My Digital Doctor.
The service provides fast access to a doctor at these difficult times, and facilitates early intervention, with potentially better healthcare outcomes.
Members can download the My Digital Doctor app today. Consultations can be arranged with an internationally certified doctor, in several languages.
The doctor can discuss symptoms, medications and treatments in complete confidence. Where appropriate, prescriptions can be provided and referral letters to specialists issued. The app also facilitates the uploading and sharing of images or test results to discuss with the doctor during consultations.
We collected some key questions, common among our members in these challenging times.
As a member, should I contact My Digital Doctor if I am are worried about the coronavirus?
If you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, please follow government advice in your country of residence as local healthcare systems are best placed to assist you.
However, if you or one of your dependents feels unwell for any reason - including suspected coronavirus - you can schedule an appointment with My Digital Doctor to discuss your symptoms with a licensed doctor. Whilst they are unable to treat coronavirus, they will be able to advise you on managing the symptoms and seeking treatment.
Can my family members access My Digital Doctor?
Anyone listed on your policy is entitled to access My Digital Doctor and schedule an appointment.
How many times can I contact My Digital Doctor during my period of insurance?
There is no limit on the number of times you can access My Digital Doctor with your Generali Global Health membership. We understand that life is unpredictable and having qualified medical advice at your fingertips provides peace of mind.
How can I access My Digital Doctor?
You can find out more about this service on the dedicated My Digital Doctor page.
Please note that you will require access to Wi-Fi or mobile network for video consultations.
 Center for Disease Control
 Prescriptions are issued in line with safe prescribing guidelines, are always subject to the rules of the country where they are dispensed and not appropriate or guaranteed in every case.
 My Digital Doctor is available in specific locations. As a member, you will need to confirm what services are available in your policy documents or by contacting your HR representative.
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MY DIGITAL DOCTOR
Free medical consultations with internationally certified doctors, available worldwide.
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