A late takeoff: one year after the start of their reimbursement by the Secu, "more than 60,000" acts of teleconsultation were taken care of, well below the forecasts of the government, announced Thursday the Health Insurance, underlining however "a very sharp acceleration "in the last six months.
The teleconsultation, which allows to consult a doctor remotely via a computer, a smartphone or a tablet equipped with a camera, is refunded since September 15, 2018 if it meets certain criteria (go through the doctor, patient already known to the doctor ).
In its 2018 budget, the executive, which has made telemedicine a pillar of its plan to fight against medical deserts, projected 500,000 acts in 2019, one million in 2020, then 1.3 million in 2021.
But for the Director General of Health Insurance, Nicolas Revel, "what matters is the rate at which things are progressing," he told AFP.
"After the first six months we were barely 8,000 teleconsultations," he said, touting a "sharp acceleration" in the second half.
"Today we have more than 3,000 consultations a week, telemedicine is developing, doctors are gradually taking ownership of it and patients too," said Revel.
According to the Health Insurance, nearly 1,600 private doctors or health structures billed teleconsultations, generalists in mind (65% of acts, against 35% for specialists).
"Physicians + teleconsultants + are generally younger" than the average of the profession, half being under 50 years (against 37% of all liberal generalists).
Their patients also seem relatively young: among the 30,000 beneficiaries registered since September, one third is under 30, and more than half (56%) under 40 years.
Another finding, the use of teleconsultation is uneven across the territories, the Ile-de-France alone accounting for 44% of acts (15% in Paris, 8% in Val-de-Marne, 6% in Yvelines as in the Hauts-de-Seine).
But it "will continue to develop," insists Nicolas Revel, thanks to "the intervention of nurses who will be from January paid by the Health Insurance" when they assist a patient for a teleconsultation at home. And that of pharmacists, who can help the patient to carry out teleconsultations in their pharmacies via individualized cabins.
© 2019 AFP