Telemedicine can help to ensure that patients receive timely medical care.

J Telemed Telecare. 2011 Dec 14 Blozik E, Wildeisen IE, Fueglistaler P, von Overbeck J. Swiss Center for Telemedicine Medgate, Basel, Switzerland.

We describe a case illustrating that telephone consultations can help to lower the psychological threshold for accessing medical care in people who are not aware of the seriousness of their symptoms, or who might otherwise be reluctant to access face-to-face care. A 69-year-old male patient called a teleconsultation service at the weekend because of acute fever. The patient was scheduled to have a hip replacement and the usual pre-operative check-up done the day before had been normal. However, a careful medical history taken during the teleconsultation revealed potentially serious symptoms. We therefore referred the patient to the emergency room immediately with the suspicion of severe infection, possibly due to colon cancer. The patient was subsequently diagnosed with septicaemia and adenocarcinoma of the sigmoid.

This demonstrates that teleconsultation is not only a powerful tool for triage and diagnosis, but can also help to reduce delay in diagnosing severe diseases in primary health care.

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