If you’re facing a health issue that doesn’t necessarily need immediate medical attention, an online medical consultation may be the better option. Modern video conferencing software has allowed patients to get medical advice from qualified doctors online more conveniently.
Today, online medical consultations are available for a variety of conditions — from simple flu to stress, depression, anxiety, etc.
Online consultations are in many ways beneficial to doctors and patients, such as:
A survey by Software Advice found that up to 97 percent of patients had to endure long lines before seeing a doctor. More than half of those surveyed said they spend at least 15 minutes in the waiting room. When asked if they’re willing to see another doctor if it meant a shorter wait, 40 percent of patients said yes.
One of the greatest advantages of online consultations is that you don’t have to wait in a clinic to be seen. Instead, you can submit your information and symptoms at any time, then schedule a consultation.
Likewise, some online doctors are available at all hours of the day. If you suddenly wake up in the middle of your sleep feeling unwell, online medical consultations and e-prescribe services can be a big help.
No need to travel
Seeing your doctor regularly can be challenging especially if you don’t own a car.
Because online consultations can be done at home, you don’t have to spend countless hours on the road just to have a 15-minute discussion with your doctor.
Online consultations can also be very helpful if your condition reduces your mobility. According to the American Journal of Managed Care, every day in the US, 230 Americans with diabetes will undergo amputation. The report added that the rate of amputations increased by 50 percent between 2009 and 2015
Does your health condition require regular prescriptions from your doctor?
You can get a prescription without going to the doctor’s office by seeing a doctor online. Doctors can write prescriptions and can even electronically send them to the pharmacy of your choosing after the appointment.
For minor illnesses like colds or the flu, an online prescription can be easy to get. This goes the same for uncontrolled substances such as birth control.
On the other hand, federal law bans the online prescription of controlled substances. Controlled substances are prescription medicine that poses a higher potential for addiction. Examples of controlled substances include benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium and Xanax), prescription opioids (fentanyl, oxycontin and Vicodin), and amphetamines (Vyvanse and Adderall).
Privacy and security
Online medical consultations are useful for patients who wish to maintain their privacy. Sufferers of erectile dysfunction, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and hair loss sometimes prefer anonymity.
An online consultation lets you talk to a doctor from the privacy of your home. This way, you’ll eliminate the risk of bumping into someone you know at the doctor’s office.
Talking about your health concerns while at home can be easier than you think. Likewise, the experience can be relaxed than you expect.
See the doctor while traveling
Thanks to online medical appointments, you can still get health advice even if you’re traveling. As long as you have your phone and a stable internet connection, you can check in with your doctor.
For example, when you have work during the day, it can be hard to go see a doctor. You can just book an appointment for an online consultation outside your work hours.
No risk of infections from other patients
Especially now we are experiencing a global pandemic, online medical consultations have become more valuable than ever.
Going to the hospital can increase the risk of transmission, whether on public transportation, in the hospital waiting room and to healthcare providers who’ll attend to them. Sick patients can receive care from their homes, helping mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
Patients are more likely to seek care at the first signs of the illness. Doctors can use video conferencing software to gather vital information like travel history and symptoms to help them diagnose.
After the consultation, medicine can be prescribed and remotely sent to the patient’s local pharmacy.
Not only are online consultations beneficial to patients, but for healthcare providers too.
According to the Health Affairs Journal, online medical consultations can reduce the cost per capita of healthcare. After studying more than 40,000 cases, Health Affairs found an average of $88 reduced cost per patient, compared to a traditional setting. Likewise, they found that online medical consultations garnered a 98 percent “would recommend” rating from the patients.
The organization said that these results could encourage further innovation, leading to cost reduction and improvements for patients.
Thanks to technology, there are now ways for patients to reach their doctors without setting foot in their clinics.
With online doctor services, patients can enjoy better privacy, convenience and safety. And with the right provider, you can expect the same level of service as you would expect from a physical consultation.