Responding to social distancing and self-isolation measures to prevent the further spread of Covid – 19, the Medical and dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ) has given a green light for practitioners to practice telehealth/telemedicine.
Practitioners had aired concern on how to contribute to the national endeavors of self-isolation and social distancing, and continue to be accessible to their patients within the current standards of operation.
In a statement, MDPCZ said practitioners are however not denied face-to-face consultations when doubtful on telehealth/telemedicine’s service to the best interest of the patient.
“Telehealth/telemedicine which includes amongst others, telemedicine in this context involves remote consultation with patients using telephonic or virtual platforms of consultation. Practitioners may charge fees for services rendered through a telehealth platform.
“Where practitioners are in doubt whether a telehealth/telemedicine consultation will be the best interest of the patient, they are encouraged to advise patients to present themselves for a face-to-face consultation to seek assistance at a health care facility closest to them,” the statement reads.
The council however encouraged ethical conduct as set in their guidelines to be continued and further announced that the platform is only applicable during the Covid – 19 pandemic.
Telehealth/telemedicine is the use of telecommunications and information technologies in order to provide clinical healthcare at a distance.
Amid its strength in advancing access to health care, its applicability in Zimbabwe is questionable due to high costs of data.