Munich. Thanks to Corona, not only business meetings but also consultation hours have shifted to the digital space: Since a contact ban was in force in some federal states in the spring of last year due to the risk of infection, the limit of 20 percent has been lifted, provided the doctor already knew the patient .
“The corona pandemic has shown that interest in video consultation hours has increased significantly,” says Dr. Anja Schramm, expert for digital supply management at AOK Bayern. Therefore, AOK Bayern is now offering video consultation hours in a pilot project. Patients need a stable connection to the Internet and a device with a camera, microphone and loudspeaker. To ensure data protection, the video service provider must meet special standards. This ensures that everything that is spoken between doctor and patient is actually protected from eavesdroppers.
Patients can access the AOK video consultation hours via the health insurance company’s online portal or the “Meine AOK” app. From there, the patient is forwarded to the website of the video service provider Zava and must – at least the first time – confirm participation in the selective contract. The currently possible indications for remote treatment include respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, asthma or flu-like infections, explains Schramm: “These diseases can usually be treated on a case-by-case basis.” Initially, 20 general practitioners are involved in the pilot project. Anyone who is interested in the video consultation as a patient can choose one of them and then make an appointment for online contact.
At this appointment, the patient receives a dial-in code from the video service provider. He should dial in a few minutes before the appointment, enter his full name and first come into a digital waiting room. If it is his turn, he will be forwarded to the consultation hour.
If a sick leave is necessary, it will then be sent to the patient by post. Prescriptions are already issued electronically and can be redeemed at a mail-order pharmacy or one of the approximately 2,700 pharmacies in Bavaria that are participating in the selective contract. If it turns out during the video consultation that a more detailed examination is necessary, the tele-doctor requests a personal visit to a practice.
AOK Bayern has based itself on everyday routine in developing this model, assures AOK manager Schramm. The participating doctors do not sit in a call center, but integrate the consultation hours into their everyday practice. In the video consultation hour, for example, on Mondays from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., all those patients who need a certificate of incapacity for work due to a respiratory infection and who populate the waiting room in case of personal contact could be treated.
Schramm confirms that anyone who still wants to take part in this project as a family doctor should register with Zava. (included)