Gone are the days where the sole way to visit your doctor was to book an appointment and have a physical consultation with a professional. Due to the high demands of appointments with doctors, the world of healthcare has seen a growth in virtual healthcare technology, which enables patients and doctors to liaise remotely through the use of video conferencing or mobile apps, without necessitating a physical place such as a doctor’s ofﬁce or a hospital.
You may have had this experience yourself, where a doctor has offered you a telephone consultation before deciding whether or not your condition requires you to be physically assessed by a medical professional. Regardless of how you rate this personal experience, there certainly are different sides to it, some positives and some negatives. However, it appears that this method is here to stay across many business sectors, including healthcare.
How Does It Work?
Online consultations provide an alternate way for patients to consult a healthcare professional or doctor via the internet, rather than having to attend the practice in person. Individuals who register for online services are able to contact their practice using a smartphone, tablet, or computer to enquire their doctor about a new or ongoing condition, which will be directed to the appropriate person in the practice team. If you require medical support, you can click on this link, where you will be able to access expert information as well as a range of services that may be appropriate to your needs. From the patient’s standpoint, the service is free and accessible by anyone who is registered with the practice.
Advantages of Online Service in Healthcare
Sharing of Data
Many healthcare specialists have remote patient monitoring systems in place. These remote systems are continuously gathering and sending data to other healthcare agencies for analysis. This is a vital step in online appointments because even if you are homebound, your doctor can effortlessly get your latest health information.
Being able to access consultations from your phone means that people are more likely to seek medical support as they do not have to take the time to physically attend the appointment, they can be anywhere.
Fewer Patients in Hospital
If people are able to access online consultations, this means that the number of people in hospitals would decrease, preventing diseases and viruses to be easily spread. Furthermore, doctors and hospitals are then able to fully dedicate their time and resources to patients suffering from serious conditions that just cannot be managed at home.
Positive Outcomes Overall
Using online appointments, and ensuring resources and time are well spent allows the healthcare system to have a greater reduction in costs as timelier access to doctors reduces inefficiencies in overall care.
Disadvantages of Online Service in Healthcare
Although there are clearly some benefits to online consultations within the health care sector, it is not as clear cut and a specific cohort of patients may not entirely benefit from the system.
Cost and Availability
One of the main drawbacks is availability and cost. For the provider, it can be expensive to ensure this service is in place and to maintain it. For many patients, it can be difficult to access too. It is a well-known fact that elderly people are the age group requiring healthcare the most, for the obvious reason, that their health is naturally deteriorating whilst the need for additional medical support increases. However, people this age are not usually experts in technology and may not even have the technological devices required in order to use the online service available.
Lack of Rapport
Depending on how often you visit the doctor, you may build a rapport with the professional every time you visit. Even when you rarely visit the doctor, you would still want to feel comfortable enough to be able to tell them what problem ails you. Online services can open up many treatment doors, but it is not the same as a physical doctor’s office. If you prefer a more personal or face-to-face relationship, unfortunately, the online service does not provide you with this.
Difficult to Diagnose
Many times, when you visit your doctor, they will do more than just listen to you. Sure some conditions are common and doctors may be able to diagnose them only by the set of symptoms you are feeling, but unfortunately, not all cases are like this. Some types of illnesses and conditions may require a face-to-face physical assessment and cannot be diagnosed via online services.
With the speedily rising cost of healthcare as well as the significant increase in demand for it, the need for healthcare online services continues to rise. It may not be the possibility for everyone, but the pros appear to outweigh the cons. The fact it allows professionals to treat patients from their home, to give valued medical support and information, and provide service to less developed areas makes it hard to pass up.