Between buying groceries and cars through online retail outlets, it’s only natural to think healthcare could be streamlined as well. Long wait times and limited staff at clinics often deter people from even seeking help with an ailment, especially if it’s a simple infection. Virtual doctor visits through the Internet are starting to take hold in some areas, but this new healthcare platform still has some obstacles ahead of it.
Because the virtual world is relatively new for medical professionals and patients alike, most health insurance carriers are requesting that any online connections need to be requested by the patients themselves. The major concern is questionable doctors looking for extra billed hours through online connections. If a patient requests an online consultation, it is more legitimate when it comes to billing the time through insurance carriers.
Limited Health Care Coverage
Even with patient-requested online consultations, many doctors are still concerned about limited health care coverage. There is no discernible definition constituting a doctor’s visit. From a 10-minute video conference to a 5-paragraph email, defining a doctor’s visit is still difficult for both doctors and insurance companies. Until more research goes into online billing and conferencing, the online platform won’t be able to treat as many patients as it potentially could.
Online Security Concerns
Another major hurdle to jump is online security. There are several companies covering medical software security when it comes to secure virtual conversations. However, no software is perfectly safe at this point. More protective measures would need to be implemented to ensure each patient-doctor conversation is completely private. Because of software issues, many doctors are holding back from this potentially practice-altering virtual medical visit.
Vitals Still Critical
Simple ailments are obviously perfect for the online world, but severe issues must be met with an in-person appointment. Vital signs, from blood pressure to pulse, still need to be checked at each visit. Doctors must see a patient’s demeanor, skin tone and other movements for a better diagnosis. Cancer, heart ailments and other serious diseases can’t be managed without certain drugs, including narcotics and sedatives. When it comes to serious drug prescriptions, an in-person visit is required by law.
A Boon for Mental Consultations
Continuing psychiatric care is perfect for the online world, however. Patients show up to their appointment by logging in. Within the comforts of home, they can speak to their doctor without having to take the bus or borrow a ride from a friend. Missed appointments are almost impossible, allowing the doctor and patient to work together in a more consistent manner.
With better video software and willing doctors, the online world could be a solution for patients in remote areas or confined to a location. Although severe and emergency ailments must still be reviewed in person, the majority of doctor’s visits could be performed through a camera lens. For shy and busy folks, this technology could mean the difference between comfort and chronic illness.