Telehealth: Should You Try an Online Doctor?

Updated on October 1, 2020

Can you trust an online doctor to diagnose your condition, treat, and give you a prescription? The concept of having an online doctor consultation is still relatively new to many people.

However, an online doctor can diagnose you as good as a physical doctor. Telehealth is gradually gaining popularity with recent technological advancements.

Telehealth services are subject to the privacy regulations that physical doctors face. They are not allowed to share your medical information with anyone without your permission.

You can use the telehealth services affiliated with your doctor. Alternatively, you can get the doctors who are covered by the government insurance plan or your employer. Always be sure that you are sending your medical records to the right medical care provider to avoid having your medical data being fragmented.

What is Telehealth?

Telehealth is terminology in medical health where patients receive medical care via remote communications, including telephone, Smartphone apps, text, web, or the video.

In the recent past, employers, private insurers, and government programs have expanded their coverage to online consultations. According to a new report, at least half of the US healthcare organizations and hospitals had embraced telehealth by the year 2016. The Senate recently signed a bill of expanding medical coverage to include telehealthcare into law.

How Telehealth Works

Telemedicine is the perfect alternative to conventional brick and mortar clinics. A patient can achieve real-time consultation and obtain the treatment options advice quickly.

80% of the total medical health issues today can be solved by an online doctor according to a survey by a reputed news site. Also, over half of the hospitals in the US, today offer their services online, according to the report. This helps the medical facilities lower the costs, provide better healthcare, and boost the overall efficiencies and revenues, and more.

You can access the remote care from the comfort of your home through e-visits with your healthcare provider or through a Teladoc. Telemedicine is as simple as talking to your physical doctor.

You can reach the doctor through a smartphone app, or over the phone. Also, they can write a prescription and send it over via email. However, even though telehealth is becoming an ordinary course of care, it cannot fully take the place of meeting a doctor in-person.

Experts say that telemedicine comes in handy for people with mental health illnesses, or UTI (Urinary Tract Infections), and other acute infections or minor injuries. People who have more complicated issues like abdominal pains and pneumonia may need an in-person examination.

Telehealth is becoming popular with each passing day. According to a recent survey, the use of internet-connected sensors like the blood pressure monitors and pairing it with the e-visits to manage some chronic conditions remotely will be a great idea. 

However, experts advise that if the symptoms persist, then it would be good to call 911 or go to the hospital for further examination.

Why opt for an online doctor?

Online consultation has numerous benefits. Telemedicine benefits both the doctors and the patients. Here are some of the benefits of telehealth:

1. Offers Convenience

Online consultation is both comfortable and convenient, especially for remote dwellers, digital humans, and people with busy schedules. Doctors can easily connect with patients via telephone or video-conferencing platforms and diagnose the patient and give a prescription.

On the other hand, patients can now access healthcare services from anywhere. They do not need to take time off from their busy schedules to visit a doctor.

2. Wider Reach

Telemedicine also enables doctors to reach a wider geographical region than in-patient. Since a patient can do e-visits from any location in the world and engage the doctor, the doctor can care for a large number of patients from different parts of the world. 

This helps in maintaining care schedules and appointments. Also, it helps build a good rapport because the doctor can encourage his/her patients to adopt healthy lifestyle choices. 

3. Quick Access to Specialists

When looking for the best specialists for a health condition, you would have to go from one hospital and consult a lot of doctors. It is quite tedious, and you invest a lot of money and time on each visit.

However, with telemedicine, you can access several medical specialists from the comfort of your home. Also, you can quickly access information from the doctors that can deal with the specific condition that you have.

Online consultation helps the patient access primary care medical providers. This allows patients to access care for a wide range of health concerns.

4. Increases Patient Care Quality

With online consultation, doctors can quickly address healthcare issues, and the patients can learn the right treatment options in real-time. Telehealth provides patient-oriented approaches that have helped improve the timeliness of medical care, which is essential to quality patient care.

According to recent research, an urgent care consultation has reduced hospital admissions for people struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, and other minor illnesses. Also, patients do not have to go to an emergency room in most cases, and so emergencies have also reduced.

5. Minimizes Healthcare Costs

Online consultation cut costs and time compared to in-person visits. Many government insurance programs and employers offer telehealth coverage, but in most cases, it’s almost the same cost as for an in-person visit. 

According to Jefferson Health, the savings for telemedicine range between $19 to $120 for every patient visit. Telemedicine can reduce healthcare costs by diverting patients away from expensive medical care settings.

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