Telemedicine includes many facets of tech-based medical care, including one on one consultations with real medical doctors over the internet. Online medical consultations have begun to take root in the United States for many reasons. As the popularity of these services grows, it’s good to understand the advantages, and know how they benefit you and your family. Here are 6 ways medical consultations make your life easier. Here are the top 6 reasons for online medical consultations from QuickRxRefill.com:
1. When You’re on a Budget: One of the main reasons many U.S. citizens turn to online medical consultations is because they are less expensive than services offered at a physical clinic. Not only is the initial consult cheaper, but in most cases the prescription resulting from that consult is also cheaper than a standard prescription. A scientific review published in The Journal of Medical Internet Research states, “Among online health services, E-consultation seems to be particularly attractive and is increasing in popularity. This new type of online health care consultation can reduce both waiting time and travel expenses. It is also likely to be a valuable option in terms of providing patients with more efficient diagnoses.”
2. When It’s Convenient: In 2003, a web survey published in a scientific journal was used as a guide in determining why some patients prefer to use online medical consultations over standard clinic visits. Researchers asked patients if they chose online doctors due to discomfort at a physical doctor office, because doctors seem to busy to answer questions in person, that doctor visits are too expensive, because it is difficult to get a physical appointment somewhere, to retain anonymity, due to the convenience of asking questions and receiving answers on an individual’s own schedule, or because of timing conflicts. The study determined that the most common reason for use of online medical consults was convenience.
The researchers from JMIR said, “In the present study we found that, of the multiple-choice alternatives, the reasons for consulting an Internet doctor in decreasing order were: convenience; anonymity; doctors too busy to answer questions; lack of time to visit a doctor; difficult to get an appointment; feeling uncomfortable when seeing a doctor; and financial reasons.”
Being able to use the service when needed with no car ride, office hours restrictions, or loud waiting rooms makes it an appealing service to many Americans.
3. When You Live Too Far from the Doctor: Whether you’re in a rural community, or your city simply doesn’t offer the type of medical attention you require, you can save time and money by speaking with a doctor online. Patients who use online medical consultation services can gain access through a computer, tablet, or mobile device at home, the office, or wherever you are, rather than driving two hours for the same consultation.
4. When Your Doctor is Out of Town: Believe it or not, physicians take family vacations too, and this can be extremely inconvenient if you need something. Some doctors have alternative services available for their patients but this isn’t always the case. When your doctor is away and you need a prescription, an one on one consultation with a telemedicine service can get a refill sent to a local pharmacy quickly and conveniently.
5. When You Require the Services of a Specialist: Your family doctor can offer plenty of information on general medicine, and can always refer you to a specialist, but with a referral comes wait times. Online doctor consults allow patients to find specialty services, like weight loss or cigarette cessation for themselves with no wait and from the comfort of home. In the future research shows that patients wish to see more specialist services online. For example, according to a study published in 2010, “In one study of pediatric primary care, parents were particularly enthusiastic about the possibility of communicating online with their child’s physician, stating that the ability to communicate online might be a reason to choose a particular pediatrician, even though the majority said they were unwilling to pay for such access.”
6. When You’re Physically Unable to Leave the House: For some patients, it’s less about wanting to stay home and receive medical care, and more about not being able to leave the house to find medical care. Geriatric patients are a perfect example of some individuals who may not always be able to make it to a doctor’s office, especially in regions where weather gets rough and commuting becomes difficult. For patients in wheelchairs, or housebound due to other physical ailments, an online doctor consultation is the perfect solution.
Telemedicine isn’t meant to replace traditional medical care, but it fills the gaps where traditional care isn’t available. Whatever the reasons are, online medical consultations have increased in popularity over the past decade and may become a more dominant way of receiving healthcare advice and prescriptions in the future.