Telehealth is here for parents – here’s what we know so far

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that almost anything can be done remotely or telephonically. This also seems to be true for doctor’s visits. Healthcare providers are reporting that fewer people are seeking healthcare advice because they’re worried that they might get the disease when they leave the house.

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“While medical providers are embracing technology-based solutions, such as digital and virtual consultations, not everyone needs to see a doctor – especially parents or caregivers,” says Dr Iqbal Karbanee, CEO of Paed-IQ BabyLine, a 24/7 telephonic-based helpline for medical advice, given by paediatric-trained nurses.

He says telehealth services are playing a critical role in South Africa in allowing easy and affordable access to quality healthcare, especially when it comes to children’s health.

Here’s what we know so far about Telehealth services in South Africa:

  • Telephonic medical advice services are not prescription or diagnostic-based, and they don’t replace the role of traditional healthcare such as in-person visits, but they are providing an important solution.
  • According to Dr Karbanee, telephonic care from qualified and experienced nursing sisters often optimises medical outcomes.
  • Telehealth offers early and appropriate medical intervention through telephonic advice, which help parents take better care of their children’s health.
  • They can prevent emergencies even though they don’t see your child in person.
  • Only about 2% of the calls received by Paed-IQ BabyLine require emergency attention from a medical professional.
  • In at least 70% of calls taken by Paed-IQ BabyLine, children don’t need to see a physician and the recommended treatment is simple home care.
  • This service is great for new parents who are often plagued by anxiety and worry, especially in the first year of their baby’s life, and struggle to know what to do.
  • This service is ideal for parents who don’t always have the time to take off work to go sit in a clinic or wait to be seen by a medical professional.
  • The nursing sisters handling the calls are experienced and trained in paediatric healthcare. They use a pre-qualified checklist to quickly identify the medical concern and recommend the most appropriate action to take.

How does it work? Can anyone phone?

No, you need to subscribe to a membership plan to benefit from the unlimited 24/7 access to medical advice from Paed-IQ BabyLine’s paediatric-trained nurses.

How much does it cost?

There are currently two membership options:

  • Annual subscription – R890 per year
  • 6-month subscription – R165 per month

Will my medical aid cover it?

There are medical aids that cover Paed-IQ BabyLine’s services including Bonitas, Fedhealth, Sasolmed, Old Mutual Staff Medical Aid Fund, AECI Medical Aid, Namibia Health Plan and Nammed.

Where do I join?

You can sign up online via the Paed-IQ BabyLine website.

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