The “Consult Station” is the invention of Dr. Franck Baudino, a French general practitioner, now a full-time CEO of H4D. One sunny afternoon, I had an appointment with the medicine of the future, I thought. I had set myself up for testing what had been presented to me as the first and only cabin in Europe with a “complete medical telemedicine device”. What I would discover would be much more than just new technology.
by: Delphine Sabattier
White and nicely lit, the Consult Station initially reminded me of a flight simulator. The cabin is large enough to accommodate a standing or sitting adult. And, once inside, a large armchair occupies most of the remaining space with small devices organised around me. Just across, I see a screen that delivers its first messages before the doctor appears online.
“It’s better than I imagined!,” smiles Dr. Baudino, to whom we owe the design of this new remote medical technology. In 2006, when he designed his own connected cabin and patented it, he wanted to create a framework similar to that of a traditional consultation: one that reassures and allows the patient to hold a confidential consultation with his or her doctor.
“In the H4D cabin, the doctor does not just provide advice. The presence of validated medical equipment allows him or her to perform a complete clinical examination, guide his diagnosis, and ultimately issue a prescription, if necessary.”
How different is this experience compared to traditional consultations? Very different. In the H4D cabin, the doctor does not just provide advice. The presence of validated medical equipment allows him or her to perform a complete clinical examination, guide his diagnosis, and ultimately issue a prescription, if necessary. The transmission of measurements is secured in real time and the data stored in an approved database. Only the patient can access them, and if he/she wishes, transmit them to his/her attending physician.
The most surprising part is the handling of the instruments. In the cabin, the patient is on the controls. I had to use the cuff of the blood pressure monitor myself and put the stethoscope on my chest. A whole bunch of gestures that are foreign to me had to be done under the dictation and video surveillance of the connected doctor.
“Between a doctor and a novice, the consultation can go from 12 to 35 minutes! Due to this, patient satisfaction rate dropped from 99.6% to 56%!”
Not as simple as it sounds, I have to say! “Between a doctor and a novice, the consultation can go from 12 to 35 minutes! Due to this, patient satisfaction rate dropped from 99.6% to 56%!”, acknowledges the doctor who has become a company manager. He also worked for four years to create his labelled training. No consultation can be carried out without obtaining this label. “It’s one of the keys to success,” he says.
When is this launching in Luxembourg? “It’s not just a matter of setting up a cabin. We build health projects that are part of an ecosystem,” says the doctor, who sees his solution as a way of practising medicine complementary to what exists, and not a substitute. Today, the cabin is often deployed in companies. This allows employees to receive free medical follow-ups. Tomorrow, depending on the conditions of reimbursement of teleconsultations, it has every chance of multiplying in isolated localities. And within a few months, Consult Stations could very well cross the Atlantic, with the blessing of the FDA of course.