Doctor service: The benefits of using an online doctor are vast. It starts with the convenience of not having to schedule an appointment at your doctor’s office, take the time to go in, wait, and then wait again to speak to the doctor for five minutes. Online doctors are typically available whenever you need one. A consultation with a virtual physician can be accessed from pretty much anywhere when using a smart device. When searching for “online doctor” in either Google, Yahoo, or Bing, you may be overwhelmed to find many different telemedicine providers. Knowing what kind of consultation you need is an excellent place to start when deciding which one to select.
Getting Started with an Online Doctor Service
For starters, set your expectations for the consultation. Remember, you’re opting for a virtual medical consultation with a doctor via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. While this is, of course, is commonsensical, be aware that there may be things the online physician may or may not be able to accomplish in this visit that a traditional office visit may be able to achieve. It is essential to check the list of ailments the online doctor service treats so that you don’t expect treatment for something the doctor cannot provide virtually. Usually, simple, more day-to-day ailments will be easily treated, such as an ear infection, urinary tract.
Another major piece of information to consider is whether or not the online doctor service you selected employs only board-certified doctors. In either case, you should always strive to receive the best care possible, even when substituting a traditional office visit for a virtual one. Many people are not aware there is a difference between board-certified and licensed physicians. Licensed is mandatory, but board-certified is not. Choosing a service provider that only employs board-certified doctors like WebDoctors is almost always your best bet.
Telemedicine or Virtual Appointment?
Once you are confident that your ailment is treatable by an online doctor, ensure your device is ready and available. First, be sure you have Wi-Fi access or a strong data signal as you wouldn’t want to drop a call in the middle of a consultation with an online doctor. Next, be sure to decide whether or not you need a telemedicine visit or a virtual appointment. Telemedicine visits are done via a telephone, while virtual visits use a camera so you and the doctor can see each other. In most cases, a telemedicine visit with an online doctor should suffice, but if you have a rash, a boil, or something you need the online doctor to see, be sure you have an adequate device that will work in sync with your online physician.
Synchronous or Asynchronous Online Doctor Visits
Don’t worry; these are two fancy words that each mean a simple thing. The most common form on an online doctor visit is synchronous, which means you and the doctor communicate via a two-way device adequate to treat your current condition without any further information or medical records. For example, you have a simple ailment; you tell or show the online doctor, then he or she prescribes medicine, and you’re good to go. Asynchronous visits are more robust, and require the doctor to record, and in some cases, store the visit for future reference. These types of visits typically require the use of further medical information to treat you properly. For example, if you hurt your leg, the online doctor will require an x-ray, which can be done onsite somewhere, stored on a server, and sent to the same online doctor to view at a later time.
Some online doctor services offer both options, while almost all telemedicine services, by definition, will offer synchronous online medical visits. As the demand for online doctor services grows and consumers become more comfortable seeing a doctor online instead of in an office, the need for asynchronous services will grow. For now, and for most ailments treatable by an online physician, synchronous services will suffice.
Online Doctor Service Ratings
It’s funny to find doctor’s services rated on business sites alongside restaurants and hair salons, but they are. Common review sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook are great places to check out what other users have to say about the online doctor service you are considering using. These reviews are typically from unbiased consumers prompted to leave a review immediately following an online medical treatment. Looking at these reviews from a macro, and not a micro-level is the best practice. Why? Because while there are always bound to be someone who had a bad experience with an online doctor and will leave a scathing review, it is better to find a site with hundreds, if not thousands of reviews where most reviews are positive.
Trustpilot is a fantastic resource, as it compiles verified reviews from actual customers, or in this case patients. WebDoctors, for example, has over 6,000 reviews that can be found on Trustpilot, with an average rating of 4.8 out of 5. So, while you can find negative reviews of this company on their site, the overwhelming majority of patients are satisfied enough to give the online doctors at WebDoctors a positive review.
Choosing the Right Online Doctor for You
By taking the time to think through what kind of visit and treatment you need, and which online doctor company to use, you should be confident the care you receive will satisfy your needs. Remember, there are many different online doctor service options available, and they’re not all the same. It pays to take the right amount of research and energy to find which online doctor service is right for you.