Telemedicine includes physician’s telephone conversations with a patient

Recently, I called up two patients by phone while they are admitted in the hospital since I could not make rounds.

Patient one – post-mastectomy patient whom I operated a day before I called her up by phone and told her she could go home the following day.  I visited her 6 hours after the operation. On the following day, I called her up by phone as she was preparing to go home.  I asked her how she was, gave further instructions, and answered her queries.

I think this telephone conversation constitutes telemedicine.

Patient two – post-exploratory laparotomy and adhesiolysis for intestinal obstruction, 3rd day postop, still confined in hospital, recovering.  On the 3rd day postop, since I could not go to the hospital (my surgical residents were taking care of her too), I called her up by phone to ask her how she was that day and if she passed out flatus already.  She said not yet.  We agreed not to remove the nasogastric tube yet.  She wanted an abdominal binder to which I agreed.  We agreed that she should ambulate more.  We also agreed on plans for the next few days.  I told her I could not make a hospital visit on that day.  She said it was alright.  She said my calling and talking to her by phone could substitute for the hospital visit.

I think this telephone conversation constitutes telemedicine. 

My TPOR (Thoughts, Perceptions, Opinions, and Recommendations):

Telemedicine includes physician’s telephone conversations with a patient and his / her relatives as long as the conversations are on the topic or matter on the management of the patient.

To extend it further, telemedicine includes physician’s conversations with a patient and his / her relatives using cellphones, email and social media as well as long as the conversations are on matters on the management of the patient.

ROJ@18jan7

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