Getting sick is never fun, but now new technology is working in a patient’s favor to make feeling unwell a little less frustrating. This new method of health care brings the doctor face to face with a patient with just the click of a mouse. Anyone with smartphone, tablet, computer, or laptop with active internet service can have access to an online physician who can consult them on many healthcare problems that they may be dealing with.
With that said, there are a few medical emergencies that a patient would not want use an internet doctor’s consultation for, but those should be obvious. Significant trouble breathing, symptoms of heart attack or stroke, fainting, bleeding that is not under control, all warrant a trip to the hospital. Anything that would require hands-on medical treatment, lab testing, or a dire medical emergency are examples of things that require a real-life medical interaction.
Most services, (e.g. MDLive, TelaDoc, American Well, DoctorOnDemand) will require the potential user to fill out an online profile and questionnaire that includes pertinent personal information including their name, address, date of birth, and billing information before they can have access to an online doctor who is licensed in their state of residence. After their profile is complete, the user can request an immediate online consultation with one of the numerous doctors who make themselves available to the online healthcare service and discuss any health-related concerns they may have.
Some of these doctors choose their own schedules, so they may be conducting an online meeting with their patients at their home or in their office. By using the camera on their chosen device, the patient can video-chat with the doctor to virtually show any physically visible abnormalities almost the same as if they were face to face in real life.
When necessary, the doctor can even issue an over-the-counter e-prescription that can be picked up and purchased at the patient’s pharmacy of choice. For common ailments and symptoms like colds, influenza, rashes, minor cuts and abrasions, skin conditions, urinary tract infections, common digestive ailments, body aches, slight fevers, seasonal allergies, eye irritation, epidermal infections, acne, muscular strains and sprains, and insomnia, an online doctor can diagnose the condition and prescribe the proper treatment just like a doctor would do at an in-person consultation.
The doctor can even prescribe medicine if the patient needs travel medications for an up-coming vacation. These are just a few of the health concerns a medical professional can recommend treatment for online. Seeing an online doctor is becoming increasingly popular for a number of reasons.
Going online for medical care is appealing because there is no hassle in getting to the medical facility. Traditionally a sick person would have to drive themselves to the doctor’s office or arrange to be taken to the doctor’s office by a friend or family member, depending on their situation and how badly they feel. For a person suffering from any sort of digestive issue that can be an anxious, miserable ride.
There’s also a cost for gasoline that has to be factored in as well. For those living in rural areas just driving to the doctor can be pricey, but by utilizing an online MD service, the troublesome drive over can be entirely avoided.One of the reasons people often skip out on the doctor is because of medical costs.
Often times even those who have health insurance are subjected to $40-$50 co-pays and individuals without health insurance have to pay even more. They may have to take off time from work for the doctor’s visit as well, and that could result in a smaller paycheck at the end of the week. Depending on the online doctor service the patient uses, those without insurance will pay an average of $40-$50, compared to $90-$150 cash price for family doctor office visit.
Some services even offer subscriptions that average around $10 a month, which could be a true help to those who need medical care but don’t have a lot of extra money. For individuals who have internet access but don’t have health insurance, a flexible work schedule, or extra money for driving costs, seeing a doctor online could be a favorable solution to their minor healthcare woes.
Another plus to having a live video-chat with a medical professional is that the patient gets to avoid the aggravation of the formal doctor’s office. When a person is feeling unwell it can be all the more distressful to have to sit and wait to see a medical practitioner, especially if it is a walk-in session and not a scheduled appointment. While they wait, they get the added grievance of being exposed to the germs of other sick people who are there for different reasons.
Most online doctors services can connect a patient almost instantaneously with a physician who is eager to speak with them and offer whatever help they can and the patient doesn’t have to be in the company of other ill individuals when their immune system may already be low.With faster and more secure technology than ever before, Americans can expect internet-based healthcare services to become more commonplace as the news of online access to medical doctors spreads. So to answer the question, yes, on-line doctor visits for minor issues are here to stay.