Online consultations for people with chronic pain during lockdown
Conditions for people living with chronic pain have been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic but telemedicine may improve the situation, according to research from the University of Bath.
Many doctors who specialise in pain have been redeployed to focus on the immediate crisis, so access to traditional services for people suffering from acute conditions, such as arthritis, has been severely disrupted.
Until now, tapping into the expertise of healthcare professionals who advise on physiotherapy, psychological support or prescriptions for painkillers, has relied heavily on face-to-face consultations. The authors say there is now an opportunity to move towards the greater use of telemedicine with online consultation.
“There is clearly an opportunity to reform how consultations for patients with chronic pain are delivered through new online platforms and technologies,” says Prof Christopher Eccleston who is involved in the work. “This has come to the fore as a result of covid-19, the immediate public health challenge we are facing and the abrupt shifts we have seen in people adopting new ways of working and interacting. Applying telemedicine to practice, which our team at Bath has assisted with, has enabled doctors to keep their doors open, in a virtual way, to patients who are desperately in need of help and support.”
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