JM | Feb 24, 2023

Gynecologist urges face-to-face visits alongside use of telemedicine

Tamoy Ashman

Tamoy Ashman / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Dr Shantell Neely-James, Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OBGYN).

Amid reports that the government is taking steps to improve the use of telemedicine, Dr Shantell Neely-James, Obstetrician-Gynecologist (OBGYN), says face-to-face visits are still recommended, especially in her field.

Telemedicine is the delivery of healthcare services and the exchange of medical information remotely. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, its practice became more common due to social distancing regulations, but is mainly recommended for non-emergency situations.

Though mainly practised in the field of general medicine, Neely-James shares that she uses telemedicine to a small degree.

“You do have patients who call from time to time seeking advice on certain issues that they may be unclear on. But, at the end of a discussion, it still ends with me saying I prefer that you come in for a full face-to-face visit, so that I can actually examine you and get a better idea as to what’s happening,” she told Our Today.

She then urged others in her field to still request face-to-face visits, noting that the use of telemedicine is beneficial, but it can be challenging to listen to the complaints of a patient and offer an opinion based on the information provided.

“It has its place in certain aspects of medicine, pediatric practices, it can sometimes work in general medicine because for the most part you’re just discussing all the symptoms. But, in a practice like gynecology, it’s a little bit more of a challenge because for some people everything is a yeast infection,” said Neely-James.

She added that “sometimes, as much everybody thinks they have a yeast infection, most of the times when you have a look it’s definitely more than they think it is”.

The Bureau of Standards recently outlined regulations for the practice of telemedicine that also state that medical professionals should still recommend face-to-face visits and only use telemedicine in non- emergency cases. The application of telemedicine can be used to treat conditions such as cold, flu, allergies, skin conditions and mental health.

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