Over the past couple of years, there has been a significant rise in the number of internet users and IT penetration in India. As a result, people have also been encouraged to seek health information online giving rise to innumerable health and online consultation portals. Although the concept is new, the growing number of users and investors of these sites suggest their popularity. The idea of seeking health advice online is quite effective and convenient. There are innumerable advantages which are:
• Access: This is the primary advantage of these services. The feasibility to interact with reputed doctors from anywhere enables one to seek medical advice from places where there is limited or no medical access. For someone living in a remote area or having no insurance, this is the most easy and convenient way to seek medical care.
• Cost Effective: At a time when visiting a doctor means paying hefty medical bills, patients are open to an effective and low-cost medium. An online consultation costs somewhere between INR 100 – 500 as compared to OPD visits. Moreover, seeking online help means no travel expenses or missing office that results in saving money.
• Privacy: Some people are quite pleased with the rise in online consultation because it allows them to maintain their privacy. This is especially helpful for those who are suffering from any chronic disease or want to discuss any critical medical condition or topic. Patients who do not want to come out in the open with their illness or medical condition for the fear of rejection from society are very much inclined towards online consultation. It gives them the freedom to access various physicians and offer them medical answers and solutions.
• Round-the-clock Consultation: Another essential factor that has contributed to a rise in online consultation is the fact that now patients can have access to doctors any time of the day. Online health service providers are constantly making an effort reach more and more patients every day. So now a patient can easily carry on with his daily chores and spend sufficient time consulting a specialist without compromising on his time.
• Online Consultation v/s Self Diagnosis: There are times when we seek medical information related to a particular symptom, disease or any medical condition through Google. But it is risky to rely on any medical information that is available on various medical sites to diagnose one’s condition. Self diagnosis might seem simple and easy but can lead to severe health conditions if done wrong. It is very important to determine the basic cause of your medical condition with the help of correct diagnosis. In such cases consulting with a specialist online can help clear doubts safely and effectively. Also, the internet is filled with innumerable sites providing information on various health issues, but some are not reliable at all. So having a trusted source to offer correct guidance is highly recommended.
• Advantage over Tele medicine: When compared to tele medicine services, online doctor consultation definitely has an advantage because it allows patients to share a detailed description of their condition. There is no time constraint. Patients also have to option to submit their medical history and share their reports.
• Be Heard: One of the major concerns among patients is that doctors often end the session in a hurry without giving them a chance to clear all their doubts. This is mainly due to lack of time at the doctors end, huge queue outside his office or other engagements that the doctor has to take care of. With online consultation you get the exclusivity to spend maximum time discussing all your issues patiently. There are no distractions or any hurry to finish the session quickly. If a consultation time of 15-30 minutes has been allotted to a patient, he gets to spend the entire time with the specialist.