Angoulême: these pharmacies that rely on telemedicine

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Telemedicine, the great temptation

Medical teleconsultation booths are on the rise all over the Charente. Deployed to save medical deserts, the idea is far from obvious to some industry professionals.

In Angoulême, eight pharmacies have already turned to telemedicine through booths or terminals marketed by the Tessan and Medadom groups, the two main ones that distribute the market in the city.

It’s not profitable, we’re doing the patients a service.

In the pharmacy of Alsace-Lorraine, rue de Périgueux, the installation of a stand last July was prompted by the departure, past and future, of several general practitioners from the La Bussatte district. “Some are not replaced while at the same time we meet newcomers”, boss Julien Lecante testifies. A trend that has gained momentum in recent years with the establishment and development of image schools and the increasing influx of students, the majority of whom do not come from the department and therefore do not have a treating physician.

“I earn money indirectly”

In the pharmacy of Alsace-Lorraine, neither waiting room nor auscultation table, everything is condensed in the 4 m³ cabin, at the end of the shop, which CL tested without an appointment (see box). A substantial investment of « 30 000 euros » for Julien Lecante, who receives one euro per consultation, plus three euros for access to the machine. An amount “symbolic” for the pharmacist “authorize” users, 295 during the six months of 2022 for an almost exclusive request from generalists (95%) and only 5% from specialists. A statistic that makes sense: it’s hard to imagine a consultation with a gastroenterologist taking place in a booth.

“It’s not profitable. notes Michel Daste, apothecary on rue Hergé. We serve patients. »

However, since 2020, he has placed two cubicles in his dispensary. By sheer altruism? The operation is a way for the professional to attract and retain customers who will buy the drugs from them. “I earn money indirectly”.

Which takes nothing away ” employ “ brought. Michel Daste saw pedestrians who had fallen on one of the wobbly cobblestones of rue Hergé push against the door of his house and leave in an hour with a prescription for a radio. Unthinkable if it had been necessary to make an appointment with a GP. The same goes for renewing medicines or pills, much faster via telemedicine.

“A business response”

A practice that knows its limits, says Gilles Raymond, section president of the MG union, the French Federation of General Practitioners. “A commercial answer to insufficient supply and exponential demand. »

“We see the prescriptions coming out of these machines, there are a lot of antibiotics, treatments that are not necessarily needed and work stoppages. I dare to hope that there will be an observatory on skin care consumption.” develops the practitioner, worrying about a declining quality of care. For him, the answer should not come from companies, but from the profession itself associated with the state that “must understand that the profession is no longer attractive”. “It is more comfortable and sometimes better paid to work on an online platform than to see patients in the office. » He strives for: “Medicine is having contact with your patient, knowing his background, being able to follow him personally and not having a succession of different doctors. » And to finish: “On the pretext that there is a shortage, we should do nothing. »

The cabin, how does it work?

CL tested the teleconsultation booth of the pharmacy Alsace-Lorraine, rue de Périgueux. After going to the counter to pay the three euros for access to the machine, several steps must be followed once inside: – insert your Vitale card. Create a Tessan account. Select the desired doctor: general practitioner or specialist (for this you need to make an appointment in advance). Describe his symptoms. Enter your bank details: the consultation will be billed at nine euros, reimbursed by social security. Wait in the digital queue. After 15 minutes of waiting, a doctor appears on the screen, that day a general practitioner employed by a Tessan health center in Toulouse. The auscultation starts remotely thanks to the various devices connected within reach of the patient (temporal thermometer, tensiometer, stethoscope, oximeter, etc.). The prescription is printed in the cabin.

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