Recently, the rising trend of online doctor consultation has come up as a boon for both urban and rural masses of various countries. With the rising technology in the healthcare industry, people are considering it as a helpful medium to consult with the doctor. An online doctor consultation is beneficial for those living in rural areas and people living a hectic lifestyle. The telemedicine and tele-health services have certain constraints, but their various advantages have outnumbered them in a very less time. This concept gained popularity in 2000 when the term ‘online doctor‘ was coined to describe health practitioners and physicians who provide consultations over the internet.
During the process of online consultation, the patient can chat with a doctor or can clear all their queries through text/chat. This process not only provides improved healthcare services, but also helps in lowering the healthcare costs and save time for both the parties. In the last decade, a number of websites related to online medical consultations like MayoClinic, DocPrime, Lybrate, Practo and MSN Health have started. In India, the trend is gradually becoming popular, but there is still a long way to go until it is practiced universally. In this write-up, get to know how and why online doctor consultation is getting popular in India.
- Wider reach: The main advantage of tele-health services is that it enables the doctors to reach out to a wider geographic area. In order to expand the reach, it is imperative to engage with the patients through telemedicine as it allows them to maintain appointments. By this process doctors can even encourage the patients to take healthy lifestyle decisions.
- Cost-effective: This practice is beneficial for patients who visit clinic or hospitals very often, as frequent visits to the clinics incur heavy costs for a medical treatment. It also reduces the travel expenses while bringing the medical attention to the comfort of a patient’s home. A patient can avail all health services, from consultation to prescription, everything under one roof. In this method, the consultation fee is also comparatively lesser than visiting to a clinic physically.
- Maintaining better care: The improvement in the healthcare sector allows the patients to avail services from any place. One does not need to take out time from their busy schedules and visit the doctor. A doctor can easily diagnose a patient’s condition without even touching him or her. The usage of different telemedicine has increased the reliability of this field.
- Convenient: The online doctor consultation allows the doctor to address the healthcare issues and patients can also learn about the treatment options in a short span of time. Patients can avoid the need to go to an emergency room. Patients can easily ask a doctor about their conditions in a hassle-free manner. The online consultation is a hassle-free process for both the patient and doctor.
Telemedicine provides patient-centered approaches that improve the timeliness.
- Access to specialists: In case of serious health issues, everybody wants to consult experienced specialists. This takes up an ample amount of time on each visit. The online doctor consultation allows the patients to connect with the medical specialists and also access primary care doctors as well. This method allows care for a variety of health concerns.
- Predicting medical trends: In order to analyze health information that most users search online, search engines are able to predict the medical trends, especially in conditions of an outbreak.
This breakthrough makes it easy for the doctors in responding to the outbreaks and adopts precautionary measures.
According to the statistics, almost 1,50,000 specialist doctors are able to serve a population of 1.2 billion. Near about 80% of the doctors live in urban areas serving only 28% of the population. This unbalanced distribution of doctors and the cost of infrastructure to improve the current healthcare scenario can create an issue. With digitization and other initiatives from Digital India, these issues can be reduced but it will take some more years of efforts to start more search startups.
The major advantage of online doctor consultation is in its competence to identify what health issues can be treated in person and those which can be treated online. This facility can solve bigger issues and ease the pressure faced by the out-patient department of a hospital. Patients should be considerate enough in identifying the right medium which takes the most care in understanding the limitation and providing better healthcare services.
If a patient is not able to visit the clinic due to work commitments or distance, he or she can easily rely on online consultation. A patient can easily consult a primary care doctor or insurance company to get more information and find out if telemedicine services are available for them.
Online doctor consultation is an innovative approach in the healthcare industry. There still seems a lot of scope in the field of telemedicine services and a lot of improvements are continuously taking place. Just like two sides of a coin, this facility too has advantages and disadvantages. But with the passing time, people will rely on medical help as it is both time-saving and profitable.