Diagnosis bad for ‘Hello Doctor’

2013-11-21 00:00

EXECUTIVE producer and presenter of the “Hello Doctor” medical service, Dr Michael Mol, said he was “stunned and disappointed” after the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) issued a statement warning the public against using Hello Doctor.

“We are especially surprised because the HPCSA’s statement seems to be based on a misunderstanding on the medical service we deliver,” Mol said.

The HPCSA has warned doctors, other healthcare practitioners and the public not to participate in, or make use of, the advertised Hello Doctor or any other act of “unethical telemedicine”, that may be in breach of the Council’s ethical rules and regulations.

The HPSCA said that despite submissions by Sanlam Health and MTN as well as Hello Doctor, a subsidiary of Metropolitan Health, being rejected by the council in 2012, the regulator has noticed, with concern, recent initiatives by the MTN Hello Doctor partnership offering “text conversations” with doctors as well as telephonic “House call” access to doctors’ services.

Practices such as these are in breach of patients’ rights such as practitioner-patient relationship, patient confidentiality and informed consent, it said. HPCSA CEO and registrar Dr Buyiswa Mjamba-Matshoba said the HPCSA was aware of the advantages technological innovations could bring to the healthcare industry and had to this end revised telemedicine guidelines currently under consideration by the council’s 12 professional boards.

He said telemedicine should only be used as a tool to enable practitioners to provide proper care, and the council’s ethical rules and regulations provide guidance to some 200 000 registered healthcare practitioners and seek to protect the public.

“Consequently the public are warned not to make use of these offerings which violate vital patient rights and practitioners are cautioned not to participate.

“The council is not opposed to telemedicine, however, business models that clearly contravene the HPCSA’s ethical rules and discourage face-to-face consultations between the patient and practitioner, are of grave concern.” Mjamba-Matshoba said.

Hello Doctor, which is largely owned by Metropolitan Health, said they had in three years of providing health consultations over cellphones not received any consumer complaints. Hello Doctor CEO Andy Milne said the last submission had been made to the HPCSA in August 2012 and the council had not reacted since.

Mol said Hello Doctor did not practise any form of telemedicine, which would transgress the HPCSA’s ethical regulations.

“We offer health information and services that are designed to help consumers take informed decisions about their own health. No diagnosis or treatments are given on the Hello Doctor platform,” Mol said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.