The human body with all its capabilities, is a fragile thing. It is prone to diseases and the ravages of time. Man had to start experimenting with ways to beat back these factors and hence, medicine started evolving with the first stones of civilization.
History has revealed records of medical illnesses and ways to treat them, which dates back to thousands of years ago. With the passage of time, medicinal advance has grown in leaps and bounds. Medicine was treated as an art in the early ages and was heavily tinged with shades of religion and philosophy in certain cultures.
Medicine men were considered as spiritual healers who would chant prayers while applying concoctions of herbs on patients to rid them of maladies. Roman and Greek physicians came up with a meticulous system of treatment according to four bodily fluids known as humors. The excess or deficiency of humors would bring with it diseases. In India, Ayurveda was used to treat people as far back as 1500 BC with in-depth knowledge of the human anatomy as well as surgical procedures.
In modern times, medicine is still considered an art, such as the skill required in complex procedures which can only come with practice. However, today medicine walks hand in glove with science instead of religion. Once man had technology in his grasp, medicine has grown exponentially. There’s no need to cut a body open to examine its insides, we have machines for scans which reveal the innermost workings of the human body, which was earlier shrouded in mystery.
Machines perform complex operations with exact measurements in tiny spaces on delicate tissues in the body. We’re still developing systems to save lives and keep diseases at bay with more convenience and it has brought us today to the future of online doctor consultation.
Online doctor consultation can have profound effects on the medical landscape. Will it be possible to receive a diagnosis without physically consulting a doctor using online reports? Will healthcare lose its personal touch as gadgets step in instead of caring hands? Is online doctor consultation the revolutionary healthcare method we need, to go with our fast paced lifestyles?
How’s it going to help you? Here are some pros and cons you can mentally weigh before you go in for tete-a-tete with a doctor online.
For those who need a second opinion or a follow-up consultation with a doctor, it isn’t economically viable to go in for a visit and pay the full amount. Since time slots and its corresponding fees are fixed, they normally tend to be lower than the fees of a walk-in appointment. Follow up queries are easily solvable over text.
Medical help is expensive and without medical insurance, people have to bear the full brunt of long bills. Online doctor consultation is a cheaper alternative for those without medical insurance to get the help they need.
6. No location or time restrictions
Need to get that mysterious back pain checked out but your 9 to 7 job won’t allow it? Simply pick up your phone and ask for a doctor. You can text your concerns to your doctor in the comfort of your home, in your car or even at your desk in office.
Most jobs don’t allow for a lot of time on hand. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a two day weekend, you’ll find that a lot of doctors aren’t available on weekends. With online consultations you can talk to a doctor around the clock whenever you can spare a few minutes.
Even if we do manage to get ourselves to a clinic, we’re always scared we’ll end up catching an infection from that sniffling guy sneezing violently beside us.
Straining to not breathe in any germs and all that nerve-wracking waiting actually adds to mental stress which may aggravate any illness we might have. It definitely helps to sit in the comfort of your home and calmly put forward any concerns you may have.
5. Breaching distances
The distance from your home to a healthcare center is often one of the biggest challenges that you have to face. Some are ill equipped to travel long distances to a healthcare center, some have homes removed from any healthcare providers in the vicinity but might need urgent answers to problems they are experiencing.
If you’re lucky enough to own a car you have to account for the expenditure on petrol, waiting in mind-numbing traffic and stressing about getting a parking spot. For those who don’t own a car, waiting for public transport is another issue they need to deal with before they can get the care they need.
Online medical consultation can give you answers to health questions even as you sit on your couch in your pajamas. Responses are almost instant which are good for those who need urgent answers. Rural areas where medical resources are scarce will especially benefit from online consultation.
Those in rural areas in developing countries have to travel to cities to get adequate healthcare. Online consultation will prove helpful in such cases, as they can receive advice from specialists as well.
4. Avoiding Self-Diagnosis
The first thing we do when we start sporting a mysterious pain in our bodies is googling the symptoms. Like many before us, the results most often than not come up all boding fatal diseases which freak us out. With countless health tips and articles online, people end up following things they’ve read off the net which more often than not are written by people with no expertise.
This can prove dangerous as self-medication can go horribly wrong. Online doctor consultation enables us to put forth these queries to verified medical experts who can give you prudent advice on what to do and what not to do.
3. Using e-prescriptions
Nowadays doctors can send e-prescriptions to pharmacies and you can go directly to the pharmacy to pick up your medicines. This is especially useful for people who are on treatment plans which need refills every now and then. Your doctor can send a prescription remotely without you having to physically go and pick up a prescription for refills. This makes life easier for those who are on asthma medication or need birth control pills.
The system of e-prescriptions encourages interactions between pharmacists and doctors. With physical prescriptions, doctors are usually unaware about whether their patients are getting the prescribed medicines or store-recommended alternatives in case the prescribed medicines are unavailable.
The alternatives might not suit a patient. In many cases, doctors using the e-prescription system can see whether the patient can afford the prescribed medicines or suggest cheaper alternatives.
2. Security and privacy
A lot of people with problems they deem embarrassing hesitate in going to medical practitioners and getting the help they need. In such cases, they can be guided through online consultation. They can avoid a face to face conversation and open up about their problems to doctors, knowing that their privacy is intact.
A common question which arises frequently with regards to online consultation is whether confidential information of both doctors and patients is safe. Most online services comply with HIPAA or Health Accountability and Portability Act which ensures that health information is protected in terms of privacy and security, digital or otherwise.
Most countries have health laws in place which safeguard the privacy of health information provided to medical practitioners. Other than that, healthtech platforms normally have security systems and servers to make sure that your information is not preyed upon.
1. Knowing your body better
In some cases a doctor might ask you to examine your body symptoms to afford more clarity as to what the problem might be. As such, you will learn how to probe that suspicious looking lump or examine your swollen sinuses. You’ll be able to assess better as to what kind of help you need in case such problems crop up again. Though it’s always better to have a doctor examine you personally; in the absence of such means you’ll be able to have access to some guidance with regards to worrying symptoms.
While it’s definitely recommended that any medical issues be checked out personally by doctors as that will yield a more accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Minor issues can be a warning sign for something serious which need careful, physical examination. However, for health issues that are not very urgent, online doctor consultation can cut out many hassles involved in getting adequate care. Most of the doctors online are verified experts who have their practice offline but also operate online.
So, when in doubt just pick up your phone, help is a few taps away.
John Benett is a bibliophile and a dedicated dog-lover. An avid traveller and gym freak, John is happiest when he’s running down scenic roads. A recently converted health buff, John is always on the search for the latest health trends. He’s taken it up as his mission to spread awareness on the goodness of kale protein shakes and medical trends such as online doctor consultation.