As families continue to stay home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more people have turned to digital for buying essential goods, communication and leisure.
Seeking medical advice is no exception to this shift. As COVID cases continue to rise in the country, many have restrained themselves from coming to the clinics or hospitals due to the fear of contracting the virus. This is a dangerous move as delaying one’s medical care can lead to worsening conditions for your ailing family members.
Thanks to technology, however, this hurdle is overcome through online consultations or telemedicine.
What is telemedicine or online consultation?
The rise of Telemedicine began in 2020, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Health Organization has described telemedicine as “the delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities.”
Telemedicine has filled the gap between the patient and the doctor, especially in these trying times. In the US, there has been an exponential rise in using telemedicine rather than in-person appointments.
Now, online consultations are everywhere and easily accessible. But how would you know if this telemedicine service offers the quality medical care you and your family deserve?
Top considerations in choosing an online doctor consultation service
1. A smooth overall process
As a patient, it’s essential for you to have a smooth experience in looking for a specialist for your condition, booking an appointment for your consultation, diagnostic procedures, and payment. With your current condition, you don’t need any more unnecessary stress piling on top of that.
It is important for an online doctor’s consultation service to have a streamlined process to help patients like you easily get answers to your health concerns.
2. Hospitality is key
Whether in-person or virtually, you would want to be treated the best way possible, especially when coming into a call about your health and well-being.
In choosing the right telemedicine service for you and your family, you should consider whether the service has a professional and hospitable medical staff.
Observe the following when it comes to staff hospitality:
- Are they ready to answer all your questions?
- Do they portray a friendly professional impression over the phone?
- Do they assist you in everything that needs to be done?
If their disposition and responsiveness seem to satisfy these questions then you’re on the right track in choosing your telemedicine service provider.
3. They have the doctor or specialist you need
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In order to fit your needs, a medical institution offering online consultations services should also have a complete line-up of specialists that can answer a specific healthcare concern.
When looking over your choices for online doctor consultations, you should check with information sources how diverse a specific institution’s specialties are. If not, this adds friction to your consultation process as you would have to go find another clinic that has the doctor you need to talk to about your health concerns.
4. A universal platform is used for all consultations
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The world has a lot of communication platforms to choose from such as Skype, Zoom, and Google Meet.
A health institution offering online doctor consultation services must equip their doctors and other healthcare staff with a proper and unified communication platform.
Why is this important? As a patient, surely you would need more than one professional doctor to consult with. It’ll be a hassle for you if doctor A wants to use ZOOM while Doctor B prefers Viber instead. That’s multiple apps to keep up with just for a consultation.
This is especially important if someone in your family is a senior citizen and is struggling with modern technology. Having a telemedicine provider with a universal communication platform will greatly help you eliminate the hassle of multi-platform communication.
5. Accepts various modes of payment, including insurances
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Medical services are often costly, so as much as possible, you’d like to take advantage of health management organization (HMO) services that can help cover your medical tab – even a telemedicine service.
Make sure that the service you’re choosing is not only able to accommodate various payment options, but is also accredited by a number of HMOs and, accordingly, provide a smooth process for transacting claims.
6. They have the service you need
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Healthcare doesn’t stop with one medical consultation. Consultations are often backed up by necessary medical exams like blood tests, x-rays, or CT-scans.
When looking for telemedicine services, consider looking at other “home” services they offer like home services for your necessary blood works or imaging tests. If your doctor prescribed a certain medicine will they be able to deliver it to your doorstep? Look for telemedicine services that go above and beyond in order to provide you with the quality healthcare you need.
7. Their patients speak for their service quality
Starting to second guess your options?
One way to help you decide if a provider gives good service is to look at the patient feedback. If you happen to be in touch with other patients, ask about their experience during their online consultations.
Otherwise, you can always check reviews on the internet or social media that the facility receives. Nothing speaks better than good customer reviews – especially in healthcare.
8. Provides holistic care packages
Another factor you should also consider is if the telemedicine service offers packages that cover everything you need for your consultation: blood exams, imaging exams, one (or two) consultations, delivery of prescription medicines, a medical certificate, and even ambulatory assistance.
These packages, of course, come in a cheaper or discounted price. Getting packages like these not only saves you time from booking these services one by one, it can also help you save money for other important matters. In these trying times, it’s important to be practical.
The world of medical care has indeed changed amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to technology, each home can now have a clinic with the right telemedicine service.
In choosing your telemedicine, the key is to experience the hospitality you usually experience when you visit the clinic or the hospital through your phone calls and video calls.
If you’re looking for a telemedicine service that fits your needs, consult with a Mayo Well doctor today.