Can online doctor consultation replace real-time treatment?

Time is never constant and with its change, the development has also taken pace. According to reports, a number of internet users are growing rapidly in the world. It was 8% in 2005 whereas in 2016, it became 47%. Meanwhile, 36% of the total world population is using a smartphone. The combination of both smartphone and internet has made life simpler. Shopping, banking, business deals, etc. everything can be done online.

This combination of smartphone and internet has helped in the evolution of the medical field as well. Terms such as telemedicine and online doctor consultation are no more unknown to the population.

But, the question circulating is: would online doctor consultation (e.g. Docprime)replace real-time treatment? Looking at the circumstances, the answer is affirmative. The justification for the same is listed below:

Equivalent care quality:Quality of health care services for non-emergency medical issues is equally good. Also, in contrary to the traditional method, online consultation is hassle-free and an individual need not go to a medical professional, which saves time and energy.

Patient satisfaction:According to a survey conducted by NIH on 3,000 patients via telehealth method, 94-99% of patients were very satisfied with the method. And, one third preferred option of online consultation rather than visiting a doctor in person.

Right size of care:In the coming 10 years, the aging population is expected to elevate the demand of the telehealthcare system. The doctor visits are decreasing nowadays and most of the doctor visits include emergency room visits (E.R.) which is non-negotiable. This is necessary and can’t be covered up with telemedicine.

Assurance of high-class doctors and medical professionals:Earlier doctor visit was based on the word of mouth as there was no platform where proper record and experience of a doctor or medical professional could be seen. With the presence of all the information available online, patient scan select a doctor by whom they want to get treated.

The reviews and rating are obviously one of the factors contributing to this. Satisfaction of patients in the treatment from the doctor helps to gain a trust factor among which is more valuable than word of mouth sometimes.

Growth in the field of Telemedicine: According to estimation by U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), investing in the healthcare sector will increase by 5.8% on yearly basis. The prediction is for the year 2018-2025. The spending in the domain is done mostly by the aging population.

Cost of Emergency Room:According to the survey, all the emergency room visits did not lead to admission in the hospital and sometimes the cases were not so severe either. With help of online consultation, the scenario can be avoided to a large extent.

The cost of travel and time for taking an appointment can also be reduced to a large extent. Also, if the patient is required to be admitted in the emergency room, an appointment with the medical professional and hospital can be fixed in advance.

Access to care:This is with respect to the population living in remote areas where high quality of medical care or even medical suggestion is difficult. However, with the availability of the internet and accessibility of the smartphone can make booking an appointment for a medical facility easy.

The mortality rate can be decreased and the quality of life can be enhanced.

No long waits:A report by Harris Poll Survey concluded that 23% of people have delayed meeting a doctor as the duration was too long whereas 13 % have delayed the visit to a medical professional because of their busy schedule. Also, in another report submitted by Harvard Medical School, the average visiting time was 121 minutes; travel time was 37 minutes and an individual had to wait for 64 minutes on average and the actual face-to-face time with the physician was just 20 minutes.

By online consultation, this whole wastage of time can be saved and the face-to-face time can be decreased to that of a mere 5 minutes. The doctor can give suggestion in 5 minutes or maximum time can extend to 30 minutes.

Covering up the shortage of primary health care physicians:A survey done by Medscape in 2017 reported that 56% of all physician visits included less than 16 minutes of face-to-face time with patients. Online consultation with a doctor can ease out the time for both patient and the doctor, thus compensating the need of Primary Care Doctors (PCD).

A report submitted by the Association of American Medical College concluded that the shortage of PCP’s will increase substantially.

Savings in healthcare treatments and ROI:The online consultation has made easy for people to select an alternative for a treatment which is reliable and inexpensive. This yields ROI of 60% on average.

The online consultation avoids the chance of regular follow-up visits, decreased claim experience, intangible employee benefits and increased productivity of the employee. This will contribute to reduced stress, improved health and early treatments.

Conclusion: Some circumstances and medical emergency such as heart attack, biopsy, CT scan, etc. cannot be avoided. However, with the rapid growth observed in the field of the telemedicine and online doctor consultation, real-time doctor visit can become outdated a bit. And looking at the consequences as mentioned above, that will be for the betterment of population.

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