4 Benefits of Seeing a Doctor Online

By on August 5, 2021
online doctor

Going to the doctor, even for a routine checkup, can be stressful. For those who don’t want the added stress of making an appointment, going out, driving to the office, and then spending an interminable amount of time waiting in the doctor’s office, the convenience of seeing a doctor online cannot be overstated. From helping you manage your health to providing access to vital prescription refills, telemedicine or seeing a doctor online is useful to people from all walks of life.

Online pharmacies, teletherapy services, and telemedicine services have become increasingly popular and much more prominent over the past five years. The recent Covid-19 pandemic marked a turning point in the number of people using these kinds of services and how they’re viewed by society in general.

Unlike telehealth—which is a blanket term for the electronic and communication tech used to provide distanced health care—telemedicine uses modern technology to treat patients remotely. This is usually accomplished via video conferencing or a phone call where the doctor is in a remote location (although typically located within the same state as the patient) and the patient is interacting with the doctor from home. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits of making a telemedicine appointment and seeing a doctor online.

Safe and Secure

Seeing a doctor online might be a source of some anxiety or concern for some people. Is it safe (yes)? Is it secure (absolutely)? Will they sell my data (they can’t because of HIPAA)? Can others listen in on our conversation (no)? Is it reputable (most services are)? Research the provider and see how they rate among patients. To ensure more security when you use a telemedicine provider, make sure you take a few extra precautions. If they have an app, double-check that it’s reputable and safe. Watch out for phishing emails (emails that appear to be legit but actually contain malware or compromise your data when you click on the link within the email) and never access a website from an unsecured connection or public wi-fi. It’s always best to understand how a company uses your data, so make sure the provider is compliant with HIPAA regulations by looking into them a bit further prior to setting up the appointment. Any legitimate service will have this information readily available and there should be no issue finding the information you need. 

Fast and Convenient

Telemedicine visits aren’t merely convenient; they also don’t take long to complete. When you’re visiting a physician in the office, it can seem like it takes forever or at least an inordinate amount of time. There’s the time spent checking in, the time spent waiting for the doctor to be free, and then there’s the waiting while you’re actually in the exam room. Contrast that with a virtual or online doctor’s visit through a conversation over the phone or via a video call. On average, telemedicine appointments run about 12 minutes-not counting hold times or time spent filling out online forms prior to the appointment. Due to how focused a telemedicine visit is, doctors spend less time asking abstract or generalized questions and are better equipped to expeditiously address a patient’s concerns. There’s more focus on treatment plans and future action as well, creating a results-focused, fast, and convenient medical consultation for most patient needs.

Private

When it comes to medical health, privacy matters. Some patients may be concerned about using telemedicine for this reason. So, is it private and secure? Most providers are required to use some form of encryption or HIPAA-compliant software to handle their appointments. On top of that, they take various precautions to safeguard a patient’s confidentiality and records. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the HIPAA security rule encompasses ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information. It’s also intended to protect the information from improper use and certify the medical facility is HIPAA compliant. On the privacy end, it covers treatment, payment, healthcare procedures, and everything associated with those vectors. It cannot be disclosed unless it is under certain circumstances such as being required by law or needing to be referenced for workman’s comp, government functions, or certain conditions. 

Adaptable

A key benefit of a telemedicine service is how versatile it can be when it comes to covering a wide range of health and medical issues. So, what can they treat? You’d be surprised. As far as primary care goes, virtual doctors are equipped to cover typical medical concerns like birth control, headaches, allergies, hair loss treatments, and prescriptions (both initial and refills). They also provide care for chronic conditions like asthma, hypertension, depression, and diabetes. Finally, they can supply some urgent care for ailments like pink eye, sinus/upper respiratory infections, urinary tract infections, and kidney issues, cold/flu, and sore throats. Virtual doctors are adept at treating these and other conditions quickly and accurately through their services. What they can’t treat are anything that requires extensive hands-on procedures (or needing access to specialized equipment), surgeries, and emergency situations. Ultimately, the benefits of telemedicine far outweigh the disadvantages, but it’s always crucial to ensure you’re using the service for what it is intended and not expecting something that it simply cannot provide.

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4 Benefits of Seeing a Doctor Online