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Two months of telemedicine in S. Korea leads to 130,000 'virtual' prescriptions Updated: 2020-05-13 13:14:10 KST


Often times, people are just too busy to visit a doctor in person when they feel ill.
However, thanks to South Korean government's recent decision to temporarily approve the use of telemedicine, one can speak to a doctor online and even get a prescription.
The patient has to first fill out a form describing their symptoms and select a convenient time to speak to a doctor, and the app will connect the two virtually.
This doctor is asking the patient to show him her eyes more closely.
When the doctor is done with the examination, the patient can pick up their prescription at a nearby pharmacy as the doctor sends the necessary forms online.

"The prescription was ready by the time I got there. It saved me a bunch of time"

When COVID-19 arrived on South Korea's shores in February, the government decided to green light this system on a trial basis.
Since then, 130,000 prescriptions have written using telemedicine services in the country.

"With mild illnesses and conditions, doctors can complete the screening online. We have systems for internal medicine, pediatrics, dermatology, and OBGYN."

While 26 countries out of 36 OECD countries have telemedicine systems in place, the need for it has been amplified in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the system is not a fix all for everything.

"Doctors need to conduct physical examinations when patients have fevers, pneumonia, allergic coughs or asthma."

Despite this, the local medical sector generally agrees telemedicine will only continue to grow and South Korea is looking for ways to make the system even more advanced.
Kim Do-yeon, Arirang News.
Reporter : tkim@arirang.com
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