Corona causes a breakthrough for video consultations

The number of video consultations with SOS International psychologists and physiotherapists has increased significantly during the corona crisis. It is expected that distance treatment has experienced its breakthrough.

Corona has brought us more than sickness, death and isolation. We have learned to work effectively from home. We have become good at joining online meetings and using new technology to be productive. And then we have found that we can easily see a psychologist and a physiotherapist without having to go to a clinic and be in close physical contact with the therapist.

Video treatments where the client and the therapist speak to each other over a video link have long been a priority in the healthcare business of SOS International. Because it simply increases accessibility and flexibility for clients. SOS International has developed its own video consultation system called HealthConsult, which meets stringent IT security requirements. It is compatible with all browsers, and both browser and app supported.

An up-and-coming treatment
The video consultation is an up-and-coming form of treatment. When comparing the number of video consultations during the first three months of 2019 to the same period of 2020, SOS International sees an increase of nearly 700 percent. The effect of the corona pandemic on video consultations is evident in the development from February to March this year, with an increase of just over 300 percent in one month. However, the increase in January and February follows the general trend of increased interest in digital treatments.

Gustav Dahlberg, Executive VP - Healthcare Division, expects that some of this progress may be maintained – even after the corona crisis:

- You could say that, just as corona has meant that we have become accustomed to video conferencing with colleagues and business associates, corona could be the breakthrough for video treatments. It could be the factor that seriously proves that you can get qualified professional treatment from a psychologist or physiotherapist albeit that you are not in the same room.

Clients are positive
The response from end users/clients also suggests that video consultations have come to stay. Marcus Idoff is a physiotherapist at SOS International in Gothenburg and has worked with the experiences gathered from video consultations:

- The vast majority of clients have a positive attitude about it. It is flexible and you can quickly get an appointment. But we also have clients who are sceptical. It is a new concept in physiotherapy, so it takes some getting used to.

While a consultation with a psychologist takes place without physical contact, it is more difficult to understand that a physiotherapist does not always have to touch the client to make his diagnosis. Marcus Idoff says that some diagnoses are better suited for video consultations than others:

- Certain diagnoses are not suitable for video consultations, but they constitute a minority of our cases. Most injuries do not require a physical examination. With an accurate description of the pain and the circumstances in which it occurred, the physiotherapist can usually make a fairly accurate diagnosis, says Marcus Idoff.

Psychologist and team leader Line Wulfsberg at SOS International in Oslo cites a 2017 evaluation report from the National Centre for e-Health Research in Norway, which states that while most clients find video calling a bit scary or strange the first time, most are positive for video calls after having tried it, and actively seeking this form of treatment in case of new treatment needs.

-This is also our experience. Many clients who would otherwise opt out of video consultations as a treatment choice have been willing to try it during the corona crisis - and will also prefer video consultations in the future, the team leader says.

Individual assessment
Before carrying out a video consultation, SOS International always makes a concrete assessment of whether the particular case is suitable for video treatment.

If not, treatment is offered through physical attendance. This also applies if, during the course of a video consultation, it turns out that a physical consultation is needed anyway.

SOS International offers physiotherapy and chiropractic video consultations in Sweden and psychology video consultations in Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

Read more about SOS International’s healthcare services here.

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