During a doctor’s appointment, it works best if the doctor can examine the patient in person to determine the causes of the symptoms. However, in a world where social distancing is the norm, some physicians have opted to give medical advice via video for the sake of both doctors and patients. A virtual doctor appointment may seem unusual and maybe ineffective, but it is a solution many are using and may keep using in the foreseeable future.
Although virtual healthcare and video consultations cannot take care of major medical procedures such as stitching wounds or delivering chemotherapy, it has a major role to play in modern health care. Let’s look at some of the ways it is benefiting the health care industry and patients.
Virtual health care prevents the transmission of diseases
Virtual healthcare is the administration of health care at a distance using email, virtual chat, text, or video. By downloading a virtual health app, patients can set up an appointment with a nurse, upload pictures of the infected or wounded area, and within minutes receive a video call from a doctor. This way patients don’t have to risk exposure by sitting in a room crowded with other patients who may have transmittable diseases.
Patients save money and time
Virtual healthcare also results in fewer ER visits and lower hospital admissions. Patients with severe syndromes who require frequent hospital visits for in-person appointments can consult doctors via video calls and only go to the hospital when it is absolutely necessary. They don’t have to take time off work, find childcare during their consultation, travel to a clinic, or pay for parking.
Even before social distancing, there were advantages to using video for medical advice. Many people live in small rural areas far from a full-service emergency department. If the patient’s case is seemingly minor, such as scraped knee or stepping on a nail, a virtual consultation can avoid a long trip.
Doctors can reach patients at any place and any time
Patients living in long-term care homes, correctional facilities, and remote Indigenous communities can also benefit from virtual consultations. Specialists from large centers can talk to them wherever they are if they have the right video software and a good Internet connection. The specialists can play a huge role in mental health assessment, treatment and supports.
Doctors see more patients and save time
The video consultations allow doctors to see more patients by moving faster between virtual visits. They also eliminate delays caused by delayed patients whether due to weather conditions, travel issues or patients being too sick to travel.
Some doctors may have patients who are unable to come to their clinics because of heart conditions or respiratory conditions. By sending staff members to their patients’ homes, the doctors can assess their patients remotely and later do a checkup via video calls.