Angoulême: these pharmacies that rely on telemedicine

The editorial team advises you

Telemedicine, the great temptation

Telemedicine, the great temptation

Medical teleconsultation booths are multiplying everywhere in Charente. Deployed to save medical deserts, the idea is far from obvious to some medical professionals.

In Angoulême, eight pharmacies have already plunged into telemedicine via booths or terminals marketed by the Tessan and Medadom groups, the two main ones dividing the market in the city.

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

At the Alsace Lorraine pharmacy, rue de Périgueux, the installation of a stand last July was prompted by the past and future departures of several general practitioners from the La Bussatte district. “Some will not be replaced while, at the same time, we meet newcomers”, testifies the boss Julien Lecante. A trend that has accelerated in recent years with the birth and development of image schools and the growing influx of students, most of whom do not come from the department and therefore do not have a local doctor.

“I earn indirectly”

In the Alsace Lorraine pharmacy, neither waiting room nor auscultation table, everything is condensed in the 4 m³ booth, at the back 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, to which three euros are added to access the machine. An amount “symbolic” for the pharmacist permitting boost up” users, 295 in the first half of 2022 due to 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 in the cabin.

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

Since 2020, however, he has installed two booths in his pharmacy. Out of sheer altruism? The operation is a way for the professional to attract and retain customers who will buy the medicines from them. “I earn indirectly”.

Which takes nothing away “service” carried. Michel Daste saw pedestrians who had fallen on one of the rickety cobblestones of the rue Hergé push open the door of his house and be gone in less than an hour with a recipe for a radio. Unthinkable if it had been necessary to make an appointment with a general practitioner. Ditto for drug or pill renewals, much faster through telemedicine.

“A Corporate Response”

A practice that has its limits, according to Gilles Raymond, departmental president of the MG union, the French federation of general practitioners, noting “A commercial response to insufficient supply and exponential demand. »

“We see prescriptions coming out of these machines, there are a lot of antibiotics, treatments that aren’t necessarily needed, and work stoppages. I dare to hope that there is an observatory on the consumption of skin care products”, develops the practitioner, caring about a “decrease in the quality of care”. For him the answer should not come from companies, but from the profession itself in connection with the state that “he must understand that the profession no longer attracts”. “It is more convenient and sometimes better paid to work on an online platform than to see patients in the office. » He pursues: “Medicine is having contact with your patient, knowing his background, being able to follow him in person and not having a succession of different doctors. » And to conclude: “Under the pretext that there is a shortage, we don’t have to do anything. »

How does the cabin work?

CL tested the teleconsultation booth of the Alsace-Lorraine pharmacy, rue de Périgueux. After going to the counter to pay the three euros for access to the machine, once inside you have to follow several steps: – insert your Vitale card. Create an account Tessan. Select the desired doctor: general practitioner or specialist (in this case, an appointment must be made in advance). Describe your symptoms. Enter your bank details: the consultation is invoiced at nine euros, reimbursed by the 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. Auscultation starts remotely thanks to the various devices connected to the patient’s reach (temporal thermometer, tensiometer, stethoscope, oximeter, etc.). The recipe is printed in the cabin.