A post office in Kildare has become the first in the country to offer online GP consultations, aimed at people who may have difficulty accessing traditional GP services.
VideoDoc has been launched in Fogarty's Quickpick and Post Office in Ballymore, Eustace. People who wish to consult with a GP now have the option of accessing a private medical booth called ‘The Hub', where they will gain instant and secure access to an Irish Medical Council-registered doctor.
The service is aimed at people with straightforward consultations and minor ailments. Doctors will have the ability to triage, treat, diagnose, prescribe and follow up with patients.
The Hub will also offer access to other health consultations, such as dermatology, and it is hoped that in the future, many other health services will also be included.
"This online GP consultation service is ideally suited for communities where access to traditional GP support may be difficult, and postmasters are the ideal providers of the booth, given the centrality of their premises and public trust they are held in," commented VideoDoc CEO, Mary O'Brien.
This is the first service of its kind offered by postmasters, however it will be monitored closely with the aim of rolling it out nationally to other members of the Irish Postmasters' Union.
"We look forward to servicing the people of Ballymore Eustace and working with postmasters to expand this offering to many other communities," Ms O'Brien said.
The new service was welcomed by the general secretary of the Irish Postmasters' Union, Ned O'Hara, who described it as a ‘very exciting initiative'.
Meanwhile, according to postmaster, Sean Fogarty, VideoDoc will provide a ‘much-needed boost' to the community.
"Like many towns across Ireland, access to GPs is difficult, as people must travel significant distances, if they are in a position to travel that is. This technology will help our community overcome this obstacle. It is a needed service that postmasters are well placed to provide," he said.
VideoDoc has been designed with patient privacy in mind and complies with Ireland's Data Protection Act and the US HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
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