Online Doctor Consultation: A Boon or a Bane?


online doctor

Online doctors, also known as telemedicine doctors or virtual doctors, are medical professionals who provide healthcare services remotely through digital platforms. Doctors online use technology such as video calls, phone calls, secure messaging and mobile applications to interact with patients and diagnose and treat various medical conditions.

Online Doctor Services

Online doctors offer a wide range of services, including the following: 

Consultations: Patients can discuss their symptoms, medical history and concerns with such doctors online. The online doctor then evaluates the information provided and offers advice, diagnoses, treatment recommendations and prescriptions if necessary.   

Diagnoses: An online doctor will use his medical expertise to assess symptoms and make diagnoses remotely (Hong, Y.A., Liang, C., Radcliff, T.A., Wigfall, L.T. and Street, R.L., 2019. What do patients say about doctors online? A systematic review of studies on patient online reviews. Journal of medical Internet research, 21(4), p.e12521). They may ask patients to describe their symptoms, examine images or videos and ask relevant questions to arrive at a diagnosis.

Prescriptions: If a patient requires medication, an online doctor can electronically prescribe appropriate medications, which can be sent directly to the patient's preferred pharmacy.

Follow-up care: Online doctors can provide follow-up consultations to monitor progress, adjust treatment plans and answer any questions or concerns that patients may have.

Referrals: If necessary, these online doctors can refer patients to specialists or recommend further diagnostic tests or procedures that may require in-person visits.

An online doctor is especially beneficial in situations where physical access to healthcare is limited, such as in rural areas or during times of emergencies or outbreaks. They can provide convenient and timely medical advice, improving access to healthcare services for individuals who may have difficulty visiting a doctor's office (Hao, H., 2015. The development of online doctor reviews in China: an analysis of the largest online doctor review website in China. Journal of medical Internet research, 17(6), p.e134). However, online doctors may not be suitable for all medical conditions, especially those that require physical examination or procedures. In such cases, they may recommend an in-person consultation or refer the patient to a local healthcare provider.

doctors online

Benefits of online doctor consultation

Convenience: Online doctors provide healthcare services that can be accessed from the comfort of your own home, eliminating the need for travel and waiting times. This convenience is particularly beneficial for individuals with mobility issues, busy schedules or those living in remote areas with limited access to healthcare. Patients have the opportunity of referring to DocTube™, an effective video-based digital platform where certified doctors from across India share their insights and knowledge on diverse health-related issues and complications.

Accessibility: Online doctors expand access to healthcare, especially for individuals who may face barriers to traditional in-person care (Donaghy, E., Atherton, H., Hammersley, V., McNeilly, H., Bikker, A., Robbins, L., Campbell, J. and McKinstry, B., 2019. Acceptability, benefits, and challenges of video consulting: a qualitative study in primary care. British journal of general practice, 69(686), pp.e586-e594). People in rural or underserved areas can connect with qualified healthcare professionals without the need for long-distance travel.

Timely Care: An online doctor can provide quick medical consultations, allowing patients to receive timely advice and treatment recommendations. This is particularly valuable in urgent or non-emergency situations where immediate medical attention is needed.

Cost Savings: Virtual consultations with online doctors are often more affordable compared to in-person visits (Fan, W., Zhou, Q., Qiu, L. and Kumar, S., 2023. Should doctors open online consultation services? An empirical investigation of their impact on offline appointments. Information Systems Research, 34(2), pp.629-651). When patients use digital platforms like DocTube™, they save on travel costs, parking fees and potential time off work, making healthcare more accessible and cost-effective.

Privacy and Confidentiality: Many online platforms used by doctors prioritize privacy and security, ensuring that patient information remains confidential. Patients can discuss sensitive topics without worrying about potential breaches of privacy.

online doctors

Challenges related to online doctor consultation

Limited Physical Examination: Online doctors are unable to physically examine patients, which can be a significant limitation. Some medical conditions may require hands-on examination or diagnostic tests that cannot be conducted remotely. In such cases, an online doctor may need to refer patients to local healthcare providers for further evaluation. 

Technological Limitations: Access to reliable internet connections and appropriate technology is essential for online consultations (Agarwal, N. and Biswas, B., 2020. Doctor consultation through mobile applications in India: An overview, challenges and the way forward. Healthcare Informatics Research, 26(2), pp.153-158). Technical issues or poor connectivity can disrupt the consultation process and hinder effective communication between the doctor and the patient.

Incomplete Medical History: Without access to a patient's complete medical history, including previous test results and specialist consultations, online doctors may face challenges in making accurate diagnoses or providing comprehensive care. This can be mitigated by the integration of electronic health records and effective communication channels between healthcare providers.

Lack of Personal Connection: Online consultations may lack the personal connection and trust-building that can occur in face-to-face interactions. Some patients may feel more comfortable and satisfied with in-person visits, where they can establish a rapport with their healthcare provider.

Legal and Licensing Issues: Online doctors must adhere to the regulations and licensing requirements of the jurisdictions in which they operate. The legal framework for telemedicine can vary between countries and practitioners must ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.
It is therefore important to weigh these benefits as well as challenges when considering online doctors and thereafter determine if they are suitable for a patient’s specific healthcare needs and circumstances.

What is DocTube? How reliable is the information presented here?

DocTube™ is a video-based platform where verified doctors from varied parts of India share information about different kinds of health issues, diseases and complications. The information presented here is reliable and easy to understand as they come from certified doctors and are presented in vernacular languages.

How is the diagnosis done in case of online doctor consultation?

During an online doctor’s consultation, patients are required to describe their problems and symptoms explicitly to the doctor. The doctor examines these and asks relevant questions to understand the situation better and arrive at a proper diagnosis.

No comments

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Powered by Blogger.