It is often said that world does not change. It depends what and how you are looking at the world. I venture to say, that we are engulfed in changes that are overwhelming us.
For example, whoever thought Uber will take over local taxicab business all over the world. It happened. This is thanks to ongoing revolution by internet accessibility.
Video chatting, text messaging, or using your mobile app of choice have become part of our day-to-day lexicon for communicating with friends and family in the 21st century. It is also expanding in the areas of our business activity including health.
While politicians have been fighting for making health care affordable, the medical industry has taken initiatives to reduce healthcare cost by making their services available on line. All you need is computer with internet connection or smartphone.
Even American Medical Association has backed online health services. AMA notes that 70% of doctor visits can be handled by telephone or online connection (visits). Now doctors are offering their services via online systems. You will be shocked how little it will cost you.
The system is so simple and has three basic steps.
- You connect via toll-free number or log on to your portal to schedule a physician
- Caretaker will update health information and go over symptoms
- Physician consults with you and offers treatment.
Not bad considering that with traditional methods, you had to make an appointment and lucky if you can get appointment within a week.
It is true indeed that at present the telemedicine concept does not replace current health system totally. However it is designed to use when
- When you need care now
- When you need second medical opinion
- When you need medical guidance or medical questions answered
- when you need urgent care for non-emergency use
- When you need short-term prescription refills
The concern is at forefront when it comes to psychotherapy. Will telemedicine be appropriate for treatment for issues such as depression? Will medical counselors be able to hold their sessions with their patients over the web? If so, is it a legitimate way to diagnose and treat depression?
Proponents believe that it’s just as effective as traditional psychotherapy, if not more so. By offering patients a familiar, accessible way to connect with their therapist, online therapists can help ease them into counseling and get them to open up, particularly if they are reluctant to seek traditional mental health treatment.
Many therapists believe it aids them in better pinpointing, identifying, and treating certain depressive symptoms.Bringing therapy into the Skype and Snapchat age may also be a boon for people in rural or isolated areas far from a therapist’s office. Rather than abandon therapy, they can take advantage of a remote alternative: Just log in and the doctor is in.
Meanwhile skeptics consider online therapy is not appropriate for all conditions and all patients – particularly those who are suicidal. According to them, online psychotherapy is dangerous, especially for depression, which sometimes results in suicide. It is believed that therapy works because of the one-on-one relationship that the patient develops with a compassionate, knowledgeable therapist. It is the human interaction that is the key, not a human-to-‘Siri’ type relationship.
It is to be understood that online medicine is not intended to replace a traditional health system. Online medical system is likely to work best as a supplement or temporary replacement to live therapy. It may also particularly be well suited for use as a preliminary diagnostic tool to help determine if a patient needs serious treatment or not.
It is too early to say if health care is being uberized, but telemedicine offers hope in reduction in healthcare costs.