Online medical consultations have taken the world by storm. Healthcare costs are at an all-time high right now — skyrocketing in the US. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) forecasts national health spending will grow at a medium rate of 5.5% per year through 2027. This in turn means that consumers are in the market for more cost-effective ways to meet health-related needs. The advent of technology has made that dream a possibility. Online medical consultation sites are meeting a demand, and offering innovative, cutting-edge tools at an affordable rate.
What makes Online Medical consultations so attractive?
It’s a win-win situation for both ends of the supply line — for both consumers as well as producers.
- 95% of employers are confident their organization will grow on account of online medical consultations.
- Physicians can reach new markets and new patients due to HIPAA rules being waived because of the pandemic.
- Telemedicine uses fewer employees which cuts production overhead.
- The potential net cost savings per telemedicine visit for an employer is between $19-$121.
- 79% of patients said they were satisfied with their online medical consultation.
- The vast majority of older patients due to mobility issues prefer telemedicine.
- Millennials place a high value on convenience.
- 40% of millennials put a high value on online medical services, many finding it essential when seeking out medical aid or insurance.
How do online medical consultation work
An online medical consultation allows a physician to provide medical help via video conferencing through the use of their smartphone, tablet, or personal computer.
It is an effective and cost-efficient way to connect a patient with a doctor. All the patient has to do is tell the physician their symptoms, even use their camera to help in the consultation, and wait for a diagnosis.
Online medical consultations are cost-effective and time-savings. They reduce transportation costs, limit a patient’s time out of work, and are incredibly beneficial to the physician. They also help in many cases because patients and doctors have a more controlled account of their visits. Records are kept along with recordings, and due to wearables and other health-related gadgets, online medical consultation and their follow-ups are more supervised and holistic.
Are they legal?
Online medical consultations are completely legal in the US. Before the pandemic, medical councils advised doctors against the practice stating that it ran contrary to certain regulatory codes. That is no longer the case. The 2020 pandemic made it a global necessity. In most regions, doctors were encouraged to treat patients through telemedicine services — and most companies, along with the federal government, began to invest handsomely in the platform; making them more exact and all-encompassing.
Today the field is being spearheaded by Google, Apple, Microsoft, and hundreds of medical institutions — all developing complementary tech, like wearable and AI systems, to help doctors in online medical consultations and their subsequent diagnosis.
Benefits of Online Medical consultations
Rapid Medical attention
If you feel ill and need medical help, online consultation is the ideal choice. Patients don’t have to wait long hours for medical advice, nor have to drive to clinics and centers miles away.
Great for second opinions
Patients can get a great second opinion just to be on the safe side after a physical consultation.
Quick Access to specialists
Virtual online consultation also increases a patient’s access to a different specialist. If a patient needs specialist care or a diagnosis with an expert in a given field, online consultation makes it possible.
Comfort and convenience
Online medical services are available 24/7. Patients no longer have to wait hours, days, or even weeks to get an appointment with a doctor.
A patient can get qualified medical advice, second opinions, and dozens of other services fast and in an affordable manner under one roof.
Patients can give their physician constant updates on their status, get their prescription filled, have supervised care without the need to visit a doctor, and have a face-to-face.
Limitations of online medical consultations
Physical examinations are limited
As of right now, physical examinations are limited. Today, thanks to HD cameras and wearables most patients can provide detailed information on their well-being — nonetheless, although it is very effective, it is also limited.
Technology glitches occur — problems might arise during a consultation and the communication will halt. This risk might be enough to make some patients think twice.
The pandemic waivers, although great, only muddied the waters. What happens once the waiver expires? Some tools and professions might fall under grey areas — The biggest hiccup right now, and the one the medical community is working on, to maintain the independence the waivers brought them is privacy issues — patient’s privacy, as of right now, is not adequately protected.
When to get an online medical consultation
Virtual care is a fairly new trend – at least how we are seeing and experiencing it right – in a couple of years, telemedicine will cease to exist — the practice will simply be called medicine. Online medical consultations are an effective means of getting a first opinion or getting in touch with a doctor if you live in a remote location. A physician will most likely, once they’ve concluded their diagnosis, will tell you if you have to come in for a face-to-face.