Types of Services You Can Expect to Find with an Online Doctor
Most of us are used to seeing physicians in person at a doctor’s office. While the idea of seeing an online doctor instead is a new concept for many, research has shown that online doctor’s appointments can be just as effective as in-person visits. Telemedicine services can help with an incredibly wide array of concerns, all from the convenience of your own home and at a cost that is typically quite a bit less than an in-person appointment.
If you’re unsure about the scope of care offered by online doctor services, let’s take a look at some of the services you can expect to receive.
The range of conditions that an online doctor can help you with is quite extensive. Some online doctors can help with literally hundreds of potential conditions. Of course, there are going to be certain limitations, namely emergencies. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind: if it’s a medical situation when you would normally call an ambulance for help, you should still call an ambulance. Emergencies aside, other issues that you might consult with a family doctor or urgent care doctor can often be diagnosed and treated by an online doctor. These common conditions include such things as:
- Stomach aches, nausea, and vomiting
- Cough, cold, fever, and flu
- Hives, rashes, eczema, and psoriasis
- Seasonal, environmental, and food allergies
- Sinus infections, eye infections, and ear infections
- Bronchitis and other respiratory conditions
- Abdominal pain or chest pain
- Asthma and other breathing difficulties
- High blood pressure
- Women’s health concerns including birth control
- Men’s health concerns
These are just a sampling of the common conditions that most online doctors can handle. Each telemedicine service should be able to clarify for you exactly what kind of conditions they can deal with, as well as which conditions they can’t handle.
Once you are in touch with an online doctor for any of these conditions, you can expect they’ll be able to provide you with very similar services as an in-person doctor, including:
- Ordering diagnostic imaging and lab tests that they will then be able to assess with you afterward
- Prescribing medications that can be electronically sent to the pharmacy most convenient for you
- Referring you to specialists if your condition requires it
Mental Health Services
In addition to medical services, many telemedicine providers can help you with mental health services as well, including:
- Panic disorders
- Bipolar disorder
If the online doctor you choose is able to provide mental health services, you can expect care from licensed therapists, psychiatrists, or psychologists. Obviously, the specifics of care are going to vary, but you can expect that the services will be similar to in-person mental health services. That means you’ll be able to schedule appointments and meet on a regular basis with a therapist or a mental health professional for sessions.
Convenience is one thing that really shouldn’t be overlooked when discussing the service that you can receive from an online doctor. With an in-person doctor, you need to schedule an appointment well in advance. Online doctors, on the other hand, typically have a short waiting time. Depending on the service, you can speak with an online doctor in as few as 10 minutes. Compare this with the time it takes to travel to see an in-person doctor and then sit in a waiting room, plus the time between scheduling the appointment and actually seeing the doctor.
With an online doctor, you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own home, which is a benefit that more people are looking for these days. Additionally, the schedule is up to you, not the other way around. You can access telemedicine services 24 hours a day. If it’s 4 a.m. and you have a stomachache, for example, you can promptly consult with a doctor. Even at that time of night, they can consult with you, make appropriate recommendations, and even electronically send prescriptions to your pharmacy when necessary.
The Bottom Line
Research has shown that the level of service you can receive from an online doctor is on par with the service you can receive from a visit to your doctor’s office. That’s because the doctors who work online are skilled practitioners. They’re licensed MDs, and in most cases, have been working in their field for many years. That means you can rely on the advice and care they provide.
The costs associated with visiting an online doctor are often far lower than those you would incur for an in-person visit, and many insurance providers work with online doctors to further reduce out-of-pocket payments.
With such a wide range of services offered by online doctors, it’s well worth checking out online doctor services.