If you are paying for medical services, at a point, you might stop and wonder if the services are really worth the money paid. By extension, the need to pause and assess the cost-benefit of a service cut across all fields of human endeavor. In medicine, it is especially important since faulty healthcare can lead to loss of life. In a bid to further improve the reach of medicine in the 21st century, healthcare providers have switched to providing care using the internet. This ingenious idea explores the average individual’s need for a smartphone.
In its simplest description, online doctor services move the doctors to a close reach of all smartphone users. Using an online doctor such as WebDoctors, patients can have wide access to medical care within the comfort of their homes. For starters, this new arrangement removes the stress of driving a long distance and waiting for long queues to see a medical practitioner. For the medical personnel, the tedious processes of patient record management and clerking technicalities are made better with just a click.
Delivering healthcare through the internet is fast becoming common in many model healthcare facilities and state-sponsored medical institutions. Integrating digital technology into medicine has rapidly improved the prospects of medical care. This practice, now dubbed TelemedicineTelemedicine, primarily involves merging audio-visual tech, communication tech, and medical practice. The patient-doctor interface is shifted online, and all procedures involved in clinical consultation and therapy monitoring are completed online. Beyond merely exciting millennials and improving the reach of healthcare, TelemedicineTelemedicine is fast changing the face of modern while carving a new niche for itself in the healthcare industry.
Online Doctor Services: The Backbone and Logic
Online doctor services rest heavily on technological advancements in the communication industry. In a bid to continuously sustain the virtual patient-doctor interface, many Digital Service Network Providers are constantly investing in and developing new software features for TelemedicineTelemedicine. On the patients’ end, many smartphone applications are specifically developed by online medical services to improve users’ experience. Compared to the conventional methods of healthcare delivery requiring many tedious registration and consultation processes, the patient only needs a reliable internet connection and a compatible smartphone to access medical care.
In 2017, the number of smartphone users worldwide was estimated at 2.7 billion people. As reported by Statistica, the number increased rapidly to 3.2 billion people in 2019. By 2021, the total number of smartphone users globally is projected to reach 3.8 billion people. Since TelemedicineTelemedicine depends heavily on communication technologies, an increase in the number of people using a smartphone is logically expected to increase the reach of this service. Data stats on TelemedicineTelemedicine seems to agree with this logic.
Currently, more than half of all hospitals in the United States have a Telemedicine program. There are reports suggesting that Telemedicine programs are especially popular in Alaska, Arkansas, and South Dakota. As far back as 2015, about 800,000 online consultations were projected on an estimate for the United States. In Europe, many health institutions are fast integrating online consultations into routine medical care plans.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the physical consultation conducted in a patient-doctor clinic visit reduced significantly. Patients with ailments that require no surgical or close medical monitoring were enrolled in different Telemedicine services. These services make it possible for patients to assess medical care without being physically present at the doctor’s clinic. As the world continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, many healthcare institutions are expected to adopt at least a telemedicine programs.
How Effective Are Online Doctor Services?
In many regions of the world, especially in Africa and Asia, online doctor services are relatively new to the population. As with any new innovations, public opinion is expected to be noticeably varied. The conventional doctor-patient clinic visit setup has survived hundreds of years in the medical sphere. It is logical if many people question the effectiveness of a new system that completely scraps another commonly practiced system.
Aside from offering medical services online, TelemedicineTelemedicine and online doctor services are not completely different from conventional hospital visits. An online doctor can also review a patient’s medical data, conduct expert clerking, order a laboratory investigation, and issue an online prescription. A patient monitoring system can be planned to track the effectiveness of therapy. There are clinical reviews and research conducted with the aim of determining the effectiveness of TelemedicineTelemedicine as a method of delivering healthcare.
A clinical review report of the American Hospital Association suggests that on introducing telemedicine services into the Veterans Health and Administration post-cardiac arrest programs, the incidence of hospital readmissions decreased significantly by 51% for heart failure and 44% for other illnesses. In another study report published by Software Advice in 2015, about 21% of patients enrolled in a telemedicine program agree that the quality of care received was similar or higher compared to the conventional doctor-patient appointments. In this same study, about 67 percent of the participant pool agreed that TelemedicineTelemedicine has significantly increased their satisfaction in getting medical care.
Most study reports published to answer the question about telemedicine’s effectiveness of TelemedicineTelemedicine in medical care suggest that patient’s opinions about online doctor services and hospital telemedicine programs are favorable. However, in many clinical reviews, a small percentage of patients still prefer to seek hospital admission for minor medical conditions. These patients only complained about the need for in-person interactions in medical consultations. Currently, the benefits of TelemedicineTelemedicine in the medical sphere are limitless.
Beyond merely filling a gap in medical care, online medical doctor services have proven useful in improving care quality. It is also important to remember that many online doctor services provide around-the-clock virtual consultation for registered patients. This single high point makes medical care constantly available at the comfort of the patients’ homes. Many healthcare facilities are expected to adopt a telemedicine program enrolling a huge percentage of their patients in the nearest future. With time, online doctor services are also expected to significantly increase the stake of TelemedicineTelemedicine in the global healthcare industry.