Did you know that the prevalence of autoimmune diseases range between 2 and 5 cases per 1000 residents across provinces in Canada? (NIH2014). As such, it is important to raise awareness about these types of conditions and the supports that are available. Autoimmune conditions have no known cause and currently there is no known cure. So managing an autoimmune disease is a lifelong journey. This requires consistent support from a healthcare professional but more on that later in this blog.
What Are Autoimmune Diseases?
Your immune system is made up of organs and cells meant to protect your body from bacteria, parasites, viruses and cancer cells. In autoimmune conditions the body actually fights itself instead of protecting it. Autoimmune diseases affect millions of Canadians, of all ages. Common ones include type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis (Cihr 2019).
What are the signs and symptoms?
This genetic disorder of the immune system affects both children and adults. Common symptoms in both adults and children with autoimmune disease include pain, tiredness (fatigue), rashes, nausea, headaches, dizziness, etc.
Though the symptoms mentioned above can be signs of a problem, diagnosis can be difficult because these symptoms can come from other common condition. Nonetheless, early detection is key. It is important for you to reach out to your healthcare team when you notice these symptoms. By seeking medical attention you are able to have a doctor look closer at your symptoms and run tests to either identify or rule out autoimmune disease (Orbai, M.D., M.H.S. Johns Hopkins Arthritis Center).
How do you manage autoimmune conditions?
Individuals diagnosed with autoimmune disease require frequent tests and observation. Telemedicine which encompasses a variety of formats using different technologies (including appointment booking, video conferences, telephone consultations, web-based conversations, and electronic messages) has significantly improved access to health care for patients with autoimmune condition.
A recent study found 819 respondents (mean age 58.6 years), 618 said telemedicine was available to them, with 449 (72.7%) reporting that they had a telemedicine visit. For those who experienced telemedicine, 303 (67.5%) reported having a telemedicine video visit. On a scale of 1-10, was 7.3, with 25.8% being very satisfied (Danila MI, et al 2022).
Another research also found that Patients reported higher satisfaction with telemedicine in 2021 compared to 2020. (94 vs. 84%) felt more comfortable with (96 vs. 86%), expressed a stronger preference for (22 vs. 16%), and higher intention to use telemedicine in the future (83 vs. 77%); patients thought physicians were able to address their concerns. While providers’ satisfaction with telemedicine increased (18–76%) (Nlm 2022).
In simple terms, telehealth services for patients and health care providers have seen tremendous improvement compared to the traditional forms of providing medical care.
At Porton Health we believe in making health care accessible, convenient and reliable for patients with autoimmune diseases and their healthcare providers. With our software, patients can meet doctors for checkups and diagnosis. This can be done from the comfort of your home which includes booking appointments, checking in for appointment and video meetings. This software only requires an Internet-connected computer and a webcam. To learn more about how to implement telehealth visit https://www.portonhealth.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danila MI, Gavigan K, Rivera E, et al. Patient perceptions and preferences regarding telemedicine for rheumatologic care during the COVID-19 pandemic. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). Published online: January 28, x2022. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/acr.24860