Danish elderly citizens successfully “meet” their GP through new tele app
In Denmark, the initiative to conduct video consultations through the app called “Min Læge” (My doctor) has now been put into operation with great success among general practitioners (GPs) and elderly patients. The initiative has been implemented as a quick response to the COVID-19 crisis as patients can stay at home and have video consultations with their GP to prevent spread of the virus.
After implementing this quick response video consultation initiative, some GPs report that 50% of all their patient contacts are now virtual and numbers indicate that approx. 3,000 patients have benefitted from virtual GP visits during the first week. This helps reduce patient contacts in waiting rooms and it contributes to reducing COVID-19 exposure.
But how does an elderly citizen in Denmark manage the use of new technology? In general, elderly people in Denmark are very willing to adopt new technology, as long as it is easily available and clearly improves their quality of life. This is also the focal point of an article in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, where the newspaper interviews an 80-year-old woman who has tested the new tele app with her GP.
She stays in her own home and uses the app on her smartphone to have video consultations with her GP, e.g. to receive blood test results. She did not worry about how to use the new tele app as she already uses both a laptop and a smartphone – all she needed was a little help with the video camera.
The GP is also happy to conduct video consultations with his patients. In some cases, the messages to patients could just as well be delivered over the phone, but then he misses important things that can only be seen on video.
Research related to big scale telehealth projects in Denmark document that telehealth save money and improve quality of life for patients. However, in the current situation, telehealth and fast response to the COVID-19 crisis are considered a critical technology, which can save lives and avoid ICU admittance, especially for elderly citizens who are at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.