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Online Doctors – Do They Justify the Hype?
The medical field has witnessed numerous technological advancements in recent years. Doctors are looking for better ways to treat patients, and cyberspace is increasing access to online medical services.
Unlike the traditional consultations where you have to book an appointment or wait in a queue, nowadays, you can consult a doctor from home.
While many patients are utilizing online doctors for treatment, many are wary of scammers. Are online doctors worth the hype? Can you trust their medical advice?
To help you decide if they are worth your time and money, here are the benefits and limitations of online doctors’ consultations:
Advantages of online doctors
Seeking medical advice from online medical practitioners is effective in managing an illness. However, you should ensure the doctor has a license in order to avoid fraudsters. Some of the benefits of online medical services include:
With traditional doctors, you have to visit the facility for treatment. Therefore, if you live far from the hospital, it may be difficult to access professional assistance.
Online health consultation excels in providing accessible medical services irrespective of where you reside. All you need is a laptop or a smartphone and internet connectivity.
You can also take advantage of the access to experts in the field by getting professional advice from different online doctors.
Medical care is one of the most expensive personal services. Even with insurance, you still have to pay some bills out-of-the-pocket. The doctor’s consultation fees will eat up your paycheck if you do not have an insurance plan.
Therefore, patients are always on the search for low-cost medical care. Online consultations are affordable; you pay for diagnosis, and order medicine from the online pharmacy.
This means that you will save money on transport and other costs associated with a traditional doctor’s visit.
Availability of services 24/7
It is hard to get a traditional doctor who works 24/7. Therefore, if your child falls sick in the middle of the night, you have to rush to an ER. However, you can always access medical services from online doctors any time of the day or night.
Moreover, you enjoy the convenience of receiving medical advice at home.
Many patients are shy about discussing sensitive medical conditions face-to-face. Therefore, talking to a medical professional they have never seen is comfortable and gives them the privacy they need.
The confidential services offered by online doctors have helped many people deal with the condition that they would rather keep hidden.
Reduction of self-diagnosis
Many people have the habit of searching for symptoms of diseases and self-diagnosing. Information from online sources is unreliable and can be dangerous.
While you can get an idea about your health condition, it is no substitute for the advice you can get from an online doctor.
Disadvantages of online doctors
The internet is jam-packed with scammers. Therefore, despite the multiple pros of online consultation, there are potential risks.
Lack of privacy
While online health consultation offers confidentiality for patients to seek advice on sensitive conditions, the internet is always vulnerable to breaches.
Violation of privacy is not uncommon, and consumers are not always guaranteed confidentiality.
Lack of physical examination
Traditional doctors often conduct a thorough physical examination and laboratory tests when diagnosing a disease. The procedures ensure that the diagnosis is accurate, and a patient gets the right treatment.
Online doctors cannot examine a patient’s physical condition. Therefore, they have to rely on previous medical reports and the symptoms from the patient. These previous reports confine the doctors’ advice since they cannot give an accurate diagnosis of the current illness. What a person gets from the consultation is a rough idea of their health condition.
The difficulty in assessing the quality of treatment
Online medical services are tough to evaluate. Therefore, you have to take a leap of faith without any guarantee that you will get professional care, although online review websites can offer some direction.
You cannot know the records of doctors, and you have to rely on the information on their websites.
Online doctors make our lives easy. However, you should not jump to any website for medical advice. Conduct a background check and go through the testimonials before using their services.