Nothing is surprising these days as we continue to see technological innovations that improve our quality of lives in many ways, but can you imagine seeing a doctor using your own mobile device?
That's still mind boggling as digital or virtual health is a fairly new concept and it represents a new era of healthcare delivery. Simply put, patients are now able to use video, mobile apps, text-based messaging, sensor-based inputs, and social media to attain the medical assistance that they need independent of time and location.
A reasonable number of virtual clinics have sprouted up in the last few years, and they function like regular clinics. Each virtual location can diagnose and treat general health conditions such as respiratory infections and allergies, eye and mouth problems, skin and nail issues, stomach pains, and also dispense medication. Some virtual clinics handle only women’s issues like contraception, fertility, postpartum depression, and miscarriage.
Distance is not an issue for those who are interested to give virtual clinics a try. Anyone with a web-enabled device can instantaneously access affordable care. Here are a few such virtual clinic options:-
These virtual clinics encourage patients to register themselves online when they first visit. Patients do not have to make appointments. They just need to make payments and wait to speak to a registered physician or nurse practitioner. Just like regular medical visits, the practitioner can assess, and treat the patients. They can also refer patients to emergency care if needed.
Some virtual clinics create and design their own apps to allow patients to have a direct and reliable access to medical specialists when needed. While others are loaded with artificial intelligence to answer thousands of questions.
In reality, virtual care itself is not new as hospitals have relied on remote specialists to monitor critical patients in the past. In essence, they represent a digital front door medical access for those in need. Such affordable access allow patients to have greater control over their healthcare options. While many still believe in traditional consultation, digital or virtual care could represent a potential model and solution to manage rising healthcare costs, labor and physician shortage while using new technologies to focus on patients.