The world of telemedical advice starts here for Ireland as the Finnish start-up MeeDoc launches in Ireland, allowing a patient to consult with a GP over the phone.
Launched today (30 November) in Dublin, MeeDoc is one of the first services in Ireland to offer the ability to receive medical advice remotely from a GP, in an area that is expected to increase immeasurably in the coming years.
Last year, Google announced that it was to begin testing a similar service to what MeeDoc is offering, in that when people search Google for health queries – widely discouraged by medical professionals – Google would prompt them with a message asking would they like to connect via their phone’s camera to a remotely-based GP.
Aside from the obvious ease with which someone could contact a GP, the idea has also being heralded as a potential benefit for those living in countries with poor infrastructure or remote areas where access to a nearby doctor is almost impossible or non-existent.
MeeDoc can be used by anyone feeling unwell to contact a GP, discuss their symptoms, receive a diagnosis and have a prescription delivered to their local pharmacy.
Irish GPs already signed up
This can also allow an Irish person who is travelling abroad to contact their GP online to consult with them if they are in a country where there are language differences.
Patients can then send images of their physical symptoms, hold video-conferencing sessions with their GP and obtain repeat prescriptions, which the company claims will be at a cost 30pc cheaper than standard GP visits.
The app already has 8,000 users in its native Finland and today marks its international expansion, including Ireland, where it says it has already signed up a number of Irish GPs to join the service.
One of those is MeeDoc’s clinical director for Ireland, Clare-based GP Dr Ronan Flynn, who said at today’s launch: “I know from my own patients that, for anyone working full time, it can be difficult to get a doctor’s appointment that suits their schedules.
“Similarly, for a parent of a young family, if one child falls ill, they may not relish the prospect of having to bring all their children to a doctor’s surgery. With MeeDoc, they can consult their GP without leaving their home.”
As for how much it will cost, MeeDoc says a consultation will cost €34 and the app is available through the Google Play Store, App Store and a web app.
Nurses on the phone image via Shutterstock