The rise of widely available high speed internet and higher quality mics and cameras has aided the development of other technologies, such as virtual doctor’s appointments. Like any technological advance, telemedicine has both benefits and drawbacks. Assessing all of these can help you decide when it is helpful and when an in-person visit is best.
Advantages of Virtual Doctor’s Appointments
Telemedicine offers a range of advantages for the patient. These appointments are often cheaper than an appointment to a physical doctor’s office. This can be especially advantageous if you have an insurance program with high copays or one that requires meeting annual minimums.
Virtual doctor’s appointments can be extremely convenient. There is no travel time, since you are communicating with the doctor through your computer webcam or your phone. A virtual doctor’s appointment can even be performed from a private room in your office during your lunch break, which means that you are less likely to have to take time off work to get medical care.
Virtual doctor’s appointments can, for some people, remove some of the embarrassment that can be associated with discussing health issues. Since self-consciousness can sometimes keep people from seeking medical care, having an option that does not even involve speaking with a receptionist can make some people more likely to get the treatment that they need.
Disadvantages of Virtual Doctor’s Appointments
There are, of course, also drawbacks to seeing your doctor online instead of in person. As with any technology-assisted treatment, electronic glitches are a possibility. It can be especially frustrating to be in a change with a doctor and keep losing the connection. Other issues can involve lags in chat or audio that can make communication more difficult.
Virtual appointments are not appropriate for all conditions. There are many times when a doctor will need to be physically in the room with you to assess your symptoms properly. Some conditions may be misdiagnosed or missed altogether without the advantage of an in-person visit.
In the end, the best thing you can do is assess on a case by case basis whether you wish to make an appointment for an in-person visit or get in a quick appointment online. By choosing the best option for each time you need to see a doctor, you can be more sure that you are getting the care that you need when you need it.