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It can be frustrating when you are sick, and you have to wait for long hours to see a doctor. That is why most people are using the internet and apps to make consultations and save on time, money, and energy. The web, apps, and social media platforms have gained popularity among people who are seeking health information. Especially for those seeking treatment, prevalent health conditions like headaches, colds, migraines, and acne.
Seeing an online doctor is the same as seeing a doctor in person. The cost is almost the same, ranging from $40 to $50, but it can also be cheap at $20 per month subscription.
Patients Utilizing Dr. Google to Access Health Information
In this digital age, it is no news that the landscape of health information has significantly changed. Research shows that modern-day patients use the internet to access health information and look for a quick solution to their medical condition. Patients prefer to seek information from the web first before they can spend their money on medicines and consultations.
According to a report by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, one in every three adults, the US turns to the internet to learn about a health problem. According to the report, 46% of the users believed that they needed to seek professional medical assistance to be sure of the results. On the other hand, 38% thought that they could take care of the condition in their homes while 11% sought professional help but handled the situation in their privacy.
The study also shows a difference in the accuracy of the information collected online compared to the doctor’s diagnosis. Out of the 46% that sought professional medical assistance, 41% got confirmation from medical practitioners while 2% got partial evidence. 18% found a difference in their diagnosis, while 1% of users were met with an uncertain reaction.
Do Patients globally prefer Apps or Web as Their Platform of Choice?
Studies have shown that 86% of American citizens are connected online. However, there has been an ongoing debate between the web and the app is best for acquiring health information. Younger patients prefer new channels such as apps eg Healthtap,Babylon health and social media, while older patients refer to use traditional digital sources like email and websites such as Doctorspring.
A report by Medical News Today indicates that about 20% of smartphone users worldwide use health apps to manage their health. Health apps are significantly growing in popularity and with the most downloaded health apps being those that help with fitness, dieting, and weight loss. It is expected that 500 million smartphone users will have health apps by 2018.
The Digital HealthCare Market
Well, numerous online doctor services provide medication to patients without having to break the bank. They typically offer platforms where patients can call a doctor, make a virtual house call or videoconference. Below are some of the best online medical services that enable patients to access healthcare digitally.
- Doctors on Demand
Founded by the famous Dr. Phil and son Jay McGraw, Doctor on Demand is a platform that makes it possible for patients to make video consultations with a doctor. Patients can have short video consultations with doctors regarding conditions such as cold and flu.
This is an affordable doctor service that provides general medical care and raised millions of capital from VCs. Patients can seek attention from mental health to allergy issues with general medical care being accessible 24 hours a day.
- American Well
American Well provides telemedicine technology solutions via web technology and mobile. It partners with various delivery networks and health care systems to provide patients with access to healthcare, including post-surgical checkup.
- The Pager
The Pager is an app that allows people to contact physicians through video conferencing every day from 8 am to 10 pm. The doctor will then come to the patient’s house if necessary.
This is a service that gives patients a chance to text doctors and inquires about any health questions they may have. The service is paid, and it is the right way for people to know whether there is a need to visit the doctor’s office from verified experts.
This is another company that partners with physicians and Board Certified Therapists. It aims to provide patients with general medical care, urgent care, as well as behavioral and dermatological health care through video or phone. It has more than 27 million members, and it operates 24/7.
Is Virtual Consultation Effective, and Does it Affect Doctor-Patient Relationship?
While online medical care comes in handy when one needs urgent attention, some doctors are concerned about its effectiveness. They say that it may compromise the doctor-patient relationship. They say that these web services can result in a loss of personal touch between the doctor and the patient.
According to Dr. Rakesh Khatri, who is the medical director at Stroke Care Now Network, video conferencing is more effective. Since it allows doctors to talk to the patient directly. He says that looking at the patient gives a more personal touch and enables the doctor to come up with decisions.
Dr. Sidani, who is a professor at Meharry Medical College, also has the same sentiments. He says that for a physician to come with reliable diagnosis, they have face-to-face interaction with the patient. He goes on to say that body language will help a doctor to know if the patient is in severe pain or not. He also noted that telemedicine would be useful if a registered nurse communicates the information.
Online medical consultations have become prevalent, with people taking advantage of the web and apps to identify and address health issues without taking a trip to the doctor’s office. The apps enable people globally to assess universal health care without spending too much time, money, and energy.
However, this should not be a reason for not attending your regular doctor appointments so that you don’t lose the human touch with your doctor. It is also recommendable to research and ensure that the doctor you are working with is well licensed.