No matter how much of our lives revolve around online communication and practices, there are still a number of services that a great many of us are averse to using via a computer screen.
It is somehow ingrained within us that some things should be done face to face and not across cyberspace. However, perhaps one of those taboos is beginning to drop it’s barriers and that’s in the field of online check-ups.
Clearly it’s unsurprising that many have qualms when it comes to online doctor check-ups, we are talking about a hugely private interaction that we don’t regularly experience.
Even outside the parameters of the online world, a doctor’s checkup can be something of a nightmare. Usually you are visiting a medical professional as you have a health concern that has reached such a level that you’ve come to secure vital information that either confirms your worst self-diagnosis or to allay your fears.
Telehealth is a catch-all term that relates to medical care offered remotely, be that via your computer or even a mobile device.
As a service, some form of telehealth has been around for 20 years or more, but now the industry is far more prevalent and offered by a growing number of providers. Some aspects are covered by your insurance services and Medicare does in some cases cover e-visits, such is the growing use of the process.
Online Doctors: How Does it Work?
Most appointments with an online doctor begin with communication from you that outlines the matter at hand, the reason you’ve requested the meeting as well as key information that will help the doctor come to a medically informed conclusion as to what might be the source of the problem.
In many cases the interaction will continue to be a series of text based communications, where a doctor will advise you in relation to the original query.
If you wish to conduct a real-time one on one appointment this is also an option and this starts with either setting an appointment for the coming week or so, or alternatively if you deem the matter to be urgent, an immediate consultation can be booked.
If the consultation isn’t an urgent one most providers of online medical professional assistance will allow you to select a doctor of your choice, from those who are aligned with that provider (perhaps one you’ve previously seen).
However if the need is pressing then you’ll be put on a virtual waiting list and be booked with the next available doctor and the meeting will take place via the telehealth platform’s video chat service.
What Services Does an Online Doctor Provide?
The variety of services alters depending on the provider but it’s safe to say that a great many treatments and consultations are available. These usually include the dispensing of birth control pills, antibiotics as well as STD medication.
A number of conditions are dealt with such as flu and cold symptoms, migraines and other relatively mundane/low level complaints. Given that the majority of issues you’d raise with your doctor fall into this type of concern, these can prove very effective and can eliminate the time consuming aspect of traveling to a clinic for an in-person visit.
Online doctors are not relevant, or recommended, for urgent or emergency issues, which should be dealt with in an ER.
Can You Trust the Online Doctor You are Using?
This is a very important question and perhaps the biggest impediment to the most common usage of online doctors. How can you trust an online doctor? Someone you’ve not previously interacted with and someone, up until the moment you hit ‘reply’ with your mouse, you know little about?
Here what’s crucial is knowing that the service provider has done the appropriate due diligence and research about the qualified doctors they employ. Though it’s worth noting that when you physically go to visit your doctor, how much investigating do you do before you arrive at the surgery door?
In many ways the online aspect has empowered you to ask the relevant questions and do the legwork to ascertain if the provider of the medical professionals on offer for online consultation are proficient at their jobs.
An online telehealth provider, at least those that are reputable and trustworthy, hire board certified doctors and you can also ease your mind by doing the relevant research into these agencies. We recommend seeking out additional info on any of these, this way you can feel more secure about the quality of service they provide.
The costs of the competing telehealth providers fluctuate quite a bit and therefore it’s crucial you find a service that not only fits your needs but also your bank balance.
Telehealth is very much here to stay and some believe that the process will continue to adapt and grow, to such an extent that key information (blood pressure/temperature checks) will be connected via sensors, so that even more can be covered by your remote visit.
Just as the internet has revolutionized pretty much every aspect of our lives, one imagines the medical field will do likewise and now might be a good time to see if it works for you and your family.