The Internet is a big, open and mostly free, library for any and every questions people have. Apart from questions about relationships, the most common questions are about disease symptoms, ailments and their cures. Many rely on Google for medical information related to a particular symptom, disease or any medical condition they assume they have. So it only makes sense for the medical world to create a place for itself in the world of internet.
There are numerous Doctors’ forums where people can post questions, which are answered by Doctors. Qualified Doctors utilize this popular medium to reach out to those who are in need of advice. Recognizing the opportunity here, more than a few doctors today allot a part of their time for online consultation.
Let’s take a look at some benefits of consulting a doctor online.
Ease of access
One can consult with a doctor of choice (who can be found with proper research online or via recommendation) from the ease of one’s own home/office/any other place of choice. All that is needed is a device with internet access.
A lot of time can be saved as there is no need of traveling or waiting in a queue for consultation. If any tests results are required prior to a detailed consultation, this can be enquired in advance and kept ready. Also, one does not have to take time off work, and hence there is a lesser chance of missing appointments.
As there are no overhead costs, labor charges, etc, doctors charge fairly less for an online consultation when compared to face-to-face consultation. While the cost of medicines and tests may not be different, the benefits of consulting a doctor online can be viewed as cost effective compared to the expense involved registering as a patient at the hospital/clinic, in traveling back-and-forth, etc.
People with hesitate to go for a face-to-face consultation when they suffer from embarrassing symptoms or ailments. Although some patients may later choose to physically visit a doctor for advanced forms of treatment, people who prefer complete anonymity are also able to find a platform online to have their concerns addressed.
Self diagnosis might appear to be easy and cost effective but is highly risky as not everything published online maybe accurate. Rather than relying on forums and Google for answers to one’s medical queries, one can consult directly with a doctor with the same ease and convenience.
It is generally agreed that many routine face-to-face consultations with GPs could be done safely online. With all these benefits of consulting a doctor online, it is not surprising that online consultations are on the rise, even in India where internet is used with caution.