Barely time to take off his rain-soaked black down jacket, Yannick* is already sitting in the teleconsultation booth at the Mary-sur-Marne health center (Seine-et-Marne). Suffering from a dry cough and a persistent sore throat, the sixty-year-old made an appointment the day before and got there in the morning in a five-minute drive. A small miracle for this resident of Lizy-sur-Ourcq, because only four general practitioners practice in the Ourcq region, where 18,000 inhabitants live. Teleconsultation, via a computer from home or a cable car, is a booming alternative. Around 2 to 3% of reimbursed consultations are now carried out remotely.
In the cramped space of approximately three square meters resembling a space capsule, Yannick is surrounded by the medical equipment necessary to measure temperature, heart rate, blood pressure… Dr Ravin Jones, a private emergency doctor in Paris, appears on a screen. In his eyes, this means of consultation makes it possible “to relieve emergency room congestion and respond to immediate demand for benign pathologies”. The confidential exchange is supervised by Nabila Taghlit, medical secretary, whose office is located a few meters away. An essential human presence for a remote meeting.
Practical and quick, this means of consultation inspired the SNCF, which recently announced the installation of nearly 300 boxes in stations. The Order of Physicians is more reserved, preferring to emphasize the importance of opening up the most vulnerable territories to make them more attractive, particularly to health professionals. Another limit emerges: making appointments online. For some patients, using the Internet is not so simple.
* The first name has been changed.