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Effectiveness of Skype Doctor Calls

by Kimberly O'Loughlin, Aging Technology Expert
November 18, 2016

Question: How effective are Skype doctor calls for seniors?

Answer: Many people are becoming aware of services that leverage video chat via a tablet or computer to be connected to the next available doctor.  For the most part, these services are embraced by and work well for college students who are away from home, or very busy and digitally savvy working parents whose employers encourages the use of these solutions. The next exciting part of the future is enabling these capabilities for seniors who may not be digitally savvy, who may have multiple chronic conditions or frailties, or who live alone at home and need timely access to support services.

The great news is that seniors are increasingly becoming savvy with new technology and keen to participate in their own care. In fact, 36% of seniors engage in social media channels  and nearly 60% go online frequently . And they seem to enjoy the interaction. In some of the places where we have worked with health systems to deploy these capabilities, we’ve seen significant improvement in patient satisfaction.   

The key to transforming healthcare is to change care delivery models so that we drive efficiency and effectiveness (improved outcomes, lower costs) in the process.  In today’s models, patients drive to a doctor visit, sit in a waiting room and then see a doctor for somewhere between 7-9 minutes – which can be tough for seniors as they have multiple doctors to see.  Imagine the day when we can keep the senior in their home with the proper monitoring technology and then when needed, give timely access to health professionals. It’s a win all around.

It may be worth reaching out to your physician or specialist to ask if their hospital has programs similar to this if you or your loved one is interested in learning more about telehealth.

Kimberly O’Loughlin is Senior Vice President and General Manager of Philips Home Monitoring. She leads the global business serving seniors and their caregivers with safety, health and connected solutions including Philips Lifeline emergency response services, medication management solutions and a cognitive health service. Kimberly has over 25 years of leadership experience at companies that include Vonage, AIG and AT&T.

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