Advantages of Online Doctors
These days people are looking for affordable, simple, and safe ways to access healthcare. Obviously, no one ever wants to have to see a doctor, but when you do, you want to know that it’s going to be as convenient as possible. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. If you have to head to your local emergency room, the wait times can be exceptional. Even getting in to see your family doctor may require you to book an appointment weeks in advance. And this doesn’t even get into the cost. If you don’t have insurance, paying out of pocket for a medical visit could be devastating.
Online doctors have stepped up to offer services that an increasing number of people are using. With access to skilled doctors and significantly reduced wait times, many online doctor’s visits can be as good or even better than the traditional appointments you’re used to. Let’s take a look at online doctor’s appointments and why this service may be right for you.
Online Doctor Services
Many are surprised to learn that online doctors are able to offer a wide array of services that are on par with those provided by in-person doctors. The fact of the matter is online doctors are real doctors, just using the internet. The doctors who’ll consult with you, listen to your problems, and help diagnose any issues, are certified physicians. These are doctors who have MDS and PhDs. They work in real hospitals and doctor’s offices, but they also provide their services remotely, allowing them to serve a wider base of patients.
Online doctors can help treat a variety of common medical concerns, including:
- Cough, cold, and flu
- Headaches and stomach aches
- Skin rashes
- Pink eye
- Minor wounds
- Mental health issues, including anxiety, PTSD, and depression
Depending on the service you choose, there are hundreds of issues that an online doctor can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medication. While an online doctor will always be limited to some degree in terms of what they are able to treat — obviously, you can’t have surgery online — they are able to offer a vast array of services.
Most online doctor’s visits will take place over a video call, using a video chat app like Zoom. Some online doctor’s services also offer phone consultations as an option. If you require a prescription, generally you’ll need to see the doctor face-to-face on a video call before they are able to send the prescription to your pharmacy of choice.
One of the major benefits of using an online doctor is the way the scheduling works. Most online doctor services have a remarkably fast turnaround. If you require a consultation on any number of issues, you can expect to hear back from a doctor in a very short period of time. Depending on the online doctor service you choose, the time of day, and the doctors available, this wait time could be as short as 5 minutes.
When visiting a doctor in person, you’re beholden to the business hours of the office and the appointments they have with other patients. It’s much faster to consult with an online doctor. Instead of being limited to the doctors in your geographical area or by the time of day, you can meet with doctors from across the country at all times of the day. If you have a concern at 3 a.m., you’ll be able to consult with a doctor in a timely manner, from the comfort of your own home.
Additionally, the service can follow you when you leave your home. If you go on vacation out of state, you’ll still be able to get in touch with a doctor and still have prescriptions sent to a nearby pharmacy.
The average cost of a visit to the emergency room in 2017 was $1,389. Urgent care visits cost about $150 per visit. Online doctor services offer a much more affordable alternative to seeing a doctor. Some telemedicine services offer plans that can cost as little as $19.95 per month, while others use a per visit fee structure that costs around $59 per visit.
Many telemedicine services will also work with your insurance, which can significantly cut back on the cost.
With an online doctor service, you can reach a wider range of doctors. If you live in a small town or city, you likely have only a handful of doctors to choose from in your area. If you need to see a specialist, you may need to travel to a larger city to see a doctor who can help. Because online doctors are pooled from across the country, you have access to qualified doctors who cover a range of specialties. This ensures that you don’t have to waste time on travel.
The average doctor in America sees about 20 patients every single day. They also serve anywhere from 1800 to 2000 patients. Online doctors manage a far smaller patient load, which can allow them to spend more time dealing with your concerns. Research has shown that the care provided by online doctors is of the same quality that you get when you see a doctor in person — you’re just cutting out that extra step of travel, excessive wait times, and potential exposure to other sick patients.
The Bottom Line
Online doctors and telemedicine services are becoming increasingly popular. Patients are seeing the advantages of speaking with a licensed doctor at all hours of the day without having to leave home. This can help reduce the anxiety that some people have about doctor’s appointments. From cost to convenience, online doctors have many advantages.