One definition of convenience is the state of being able to do something easily with little effort and no hindrances. How many times have you wanted just a simple prescription or to chat quickly with a doctor about some concerns you may have had, but the thought of long lines and visit costs made it all too hard?
Dr Ché Bowen, general practitioner and entrepreneur, has merged both his passions to bring Jamaicans the medical convenience that is telemedicine. Having worked in both the private and public health sectors, he noticed that patients would travel far distances, spend long waiting hours, and pay expensive doctor’s fees just for a prescription refill for ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma, and pains.
“One day, a patient asked me if there was any way he could refill medication or see a doctor without having to come in, and that’s when I thought about it, did some research, and came across telemedicine,” he recounted.
It’s been three years since MDLink’s launch in Jamaica and the region, and operations are quite successful. Doctors from around the Caribbean are available 24/7, and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, where social distancing plays an integral role in flattening the spread curve, more doctors have been added to the platform and the site is seeing more patients than before.
So, what is telemedicine? According to Bowen, it has been around for about 15 years and allows patients to see a doctor and be treated online via video, audio, or text. There are, however, a number of conditions that cannot be addressed online, such as chest pains, bleeding, and head injuries. The website is designed in such a way that there are no blind spots, so you can go through the list of approved conditions before paying to see your doctor. Best of all, patients pay way less than they would for the average walk-in doctor’s visit. Yes, that’s the same for the online specialists.
HOW IT’S DONE
Here’s how both patients and doctors can get the ball rolling:
Patients are required to register and submit a form of government-issued identification such as a driver’s licence, voter’s ID, or passport to verify themselves. Doctors, on the other hand, are put through a screening process, where they must submit proof of malpractice insurance, as well as degree and registration documents, to be approved. Only approved doctors are able to see patients. After your online visit, fret not about your prescription. It is sent directly to your pharmacy, and all you have to do is collect it!
Follow @themdlink on Instagram to keep up with happenings, and log on to themdlink.com to see a doctor in the comfort of your own home. A bit more tech-savvy? There’s even a full-service app for both Apple and Android systems, just search MDlink.
Story by Jessica Harrison