Is TeleMedicine Useful for Veterinary Diagnosis and Treatment?

Pet ownership is on the rise, and so is telemedicine for humans. Is telemedicine also useful for diagnosis and treatment of animals? Aspiring vet med student, Erin Tan, did some research on the topic and shares what she thinks.

* This article was first published on tech4tea.com.

Consult a vet from home via the Internet. Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash.
Consult a vet from home via the Internet. Photo by Velizar Ivanov on Unsplash.

Pet ownership is on the rise.

With canine pets licensed in Singapore increasing by 32% in the past decade – according to the Agri-Veterinary Authority of Singapore – and the booming pet industry in places like China and India, it is evident that pet owners form a large, and valuable, market.

With teleconsultation, the vet can “see to” animals needing medical consultations even when he/she is not in the clinic.
With teleconsultation, the vet can “see to” animals needing medical consultations even when he/she is not in the clinic.

The pet-care market in Asia is valued at around US$1 billion a year, and is expected to grow to US$1.5 billion by 2020.

Another trend in recent years is the rise of telemedicine in the human health industry.

There has been a proliferation of apps like MaNaDr, Doctor Anywhere and MyDoc, which aim to connect patients with doctors over a digital platform and make the provision of healthcare much more convenient.

There is much potential in marrying the two thriving industries together, by making telemedicine available for veterinarians to deliver medical advice and consultations to pet-owners, through virtual means.

Manifestations of veterinary telemedicine would include platforms for pet-owners to ask vets for advice by sending photos and messages to vets on duty, or tele-consults via video calls.

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Government-Subsidised HDB Home Renovations for the Elderly (EASE)

Falls are common causes of elderly injuries at home. You can install special tools and aids around your Housing and Development Board (HDB) apartment to help prevent falls. Under the Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, the costs of some of the installations will be subsidised by the Government.

The safety aids will enable senior citizens living in HDB apartments in Singapore to move around freely and safely to enable a more independent life.
The safety aids will enable senior citizens living in HDB apartments in Singapore to move around freely and safely to enable a more independent life.

Changes could be simple adjustments or lifestyle changes, or more complicated like the addition of fittings or structural changes.

Simple adjustments could include:

  • Addition of grab bars
  • Use of non-slip mats or application of non-slip treatments on floors of wet and slippery areas, eg bathroom and toilet
  • Removal of rugs and wires on the floor to prevent falls
  • Changing switches to an accessible level, if your care recipient is wheelchair bound
  • Highlighting steps and stairs with fluorescent tape for better visibility at night
  • Relocating your care recipient to a room on the ground floor (if you stay in a multi-storey house)

Continue reading “Government-Subsidised HDB Home Renovations for the Elderly (EASE)”

Weekend read: The value of the Doctor-Patient relationship

“Tryng to put a value on the doctor-patient relationship” – by Km Tingley in the New York Times (16 May, 2018).

How does one put a value to the traditional doctor-patient relationship in the pursuit of greater efficiency that decouples a patient from a regular family doctor?
How does one put a value to the traditional doctor-patient relationship in the pursuit of greater efficiency that decouples a patient from a regular family doctor?

This long yet engrossing read offers a heartwarming perspective on how a sustained relationship between the patient and his/her primary care doctor can enhance healthcare for the patient and reduce costs to the overall healthcare system.

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World Family Doctor Day 2018 on 19 May

World Family Doctor Day was first declared by the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) in 2010. This year’s theme is: “Family doctors – leading the way to better health”.

World Family Doctor Day is known as “519世界家庭醫師日” in Mandarin.
World Family Doctor Day is known as “519世界家庭醫師日” in Mandarin.

The World Family Doctor Day – on 19 May every year – highlights the role and contribution of family doctors in health care systems around the world.

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Leveraging technology to provide better healthcare

Today, we put the focus on a primary care doctor practicing in Punggol – to get a feel of what it’s like running a GP clinic in a residential neighbourhood in Singapore.

Dr. Paul Ang founded Zenith Medical Clinic in Punggol, Singapore. Visit its website for location and opening hours
Dr. Paul Ang founded Zenith Medical Clinic in Punggol, Singapore. Visit its website for location and opening hours

Dr. Paul Ang belongs to a new generation of young doctors establishing themselves as the community’s trusted general practitioners (GPs), providing primary care to the residents in Punggol.

Dr. Ang’s clinical interests include Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT), Mental Health and Wellness, and Paediatrics.
Dr. Ang’s clinical interests include Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT), Mental Health and Wellness, and Paediatrics.

As a millennial, Dr. Ang is tech savvy and fully cognizant of the importance of harnessing technology to reap improvements to traditional work processes.

Having spent the past three and a half years practicing at Zenith, the Gen-Y doctor’s greatest frustration is with the typical fluctuations of patient volumes at GP clinics.

As most practitioners or patients would have observed, a typical primary care clinic can be really crowded at times eg. on Saturdays and Mondays, and at different times of the day.

With many traditional first-come-first-serve basis, the staff has to cope with long lines of patients vying for an earlier time slot, with tempers occasionally flaring up.

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World Immunization Week 2018: 24 to 30 April – #VaccinesWork

The last week of April each year is marked by WHO and partners as World Immunization Week. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives and is widely recognized as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions. This year’s theme is: “Protected Together, #VaccinesWork”.

WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”
WHO’s overarching message for this year’s World Immunization Week is that “We can ensure vaccines reach the people that need them most. We can be protected together.”

Immunisation saves millions of lives and is widely recognised as one of the world’s most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

Yet, there are more than 19 million unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children in the world, putting them at serious risk of these potentially fatal diseases.

Of these children, 1 out of 10 never receive any vaccinations, and most likely has never been seen by the health system.

Immunisation prevents illness, disability and death from vaccine-preventable diseases including cervical cancer, diphtheria, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, pertussis (whooping cough), pneumonia, polio, rotavirus diarrhoea, rubella and tetanus.

The Global Vaccine Action Plan (GVAP) – endorsed by 194 Member States of the World Health Assembly in May 2012 – aims to prevent millions of deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases by 2020 through universal access to immunisation.

Despite improvements in individual countries and a strong global rate of new vaccine introduction, all of the GVAP targets for disease elimination—including measles, rubella, and maternal and neonatal tetanus—are behind schedule.

In order for everyone, everywhere to survive and thrive, countries must make more concerted efforts to reach GVAP goals by 2020.

Additionally, those countries that have achieved or made forward progress towards achieving the goals must work to sustain those efforts over time – so that no person goes without life-saving vaccines.

Expanding access to immunisation is crucial to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN..

Continue reading “World Immunization Week 2018: 24 to 30 April – #VaccinesWork”

New arrival: Fitbit Versa health & fitness smartwatch in Singapore

The new Fitbit Versa smartwatch is now available globally and in Singapore at S$318, with accessories ranging from S$50 – S$140. Includes female health tracking and quick replies to mobile Android device messages (from May).

* This story first appeared on tech4tea.com.

Beginning in May, these new Fitbit features will be available:

Quick replies

“We’re thrilled for consumers around the world to experience Versa, a beautifully designed smartwatch for all with advanced health and fitness features, access to our large global social network and smart features people find most useful at an approachable price. We believe Versa is a smartwatch that will have mass appeal, attracting new audiences and helping us capture a previously untapped segment of users in this growing wearables category,” said James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit.

Android mobile device users can respond to messages on the go using Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Ionic smartwatches.

Create and send up to five custom pre-populated quick replies of 60 characters or less to text messages and messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Female health tracking

Available to all adult users who identify as female in the Fitbit app to track their menstrual cycle and symptoms.

Makes it easier to manage their cycle with a more complete picture of health and fitness data all in one place.

Versa and Ionic users will also be able to view female health tracking information on-device.

More details below from the press release.

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