The days of waiting for hours to see a doctor when one urgently needs medical care, will soon be nothing more than a painful memory. The newest innovations are allowing urgent care patients to receive treatment far more quickly and conveniently than ever before.
Most people are familiar with websites that offer remedial medical information about symptoms, causes, and potential treatments. While these are certainly useful and provide interesting information, they do little to help a patient who is suffering from a health issue. Fortunately, the information age is rapidly being exchanged for the age of action.
Virtual doctors visits can be performed in a variety of ways. The two most popular are by having the healthcare professional and patient discuss symptoms via a phone conversation or in a face-to-face meeting utilizing video conferencing technology.
There are many conditions that can be appropriately managed utilizing these types of virtual doctor’s visits. For example, sinus infections are a common condition for which patients seek medical care. The sinuses are part of the nasal passage and are located under the eyes and behind the forehead. These areas are usually filled with air. When the lining becomes inflamed or infected they can fill with fluid and cause pressure to be exerted against the eyes and facial tissue. The discomfort caused by this process is what many people seek treatment for.
This can happen because of seasonal allergies, viral infections, fungal infections, and bacterial infections. There are a variety of imaging and in-office diagnostic tests that can be performed to identify the cause and severity of the infection. A virtual appointment can provide the physician with enough information to order additional tests and treating the sinus infection treatment immediately with a series of relevant prescriptions.
Benefits of a Virtual Visit
While not all medical conditions are appropriate for a virtual visit, most which are not of an emergency nature are. This goes far beyond being a novelty or a fad. As consumers become more aware of the option they begin to rely on it in favor of visiting their primary care physician in person or seeing a health care provider at a local urgent care center.
There are several reasons they have been gaining in popularity. The first is the sheer convenience of not having to drive to a doctor’s appointment when one is already feeling ill. Then there is the added benefit of not having to wait in a room filled with other sick people who may make you sick with something else before you are able to leave.
The cost is another significant factor contributing to the growing demand for virtual healthcare visits. On average, it is about half the cost of visiting an in-person appointment and many health insurance companies have begun to cover them as part of their basic policies.
Electronic medical records are another way in which the future of healthcare has fully arrived. In many science fiction television shows and movies, healthcare providers were able to tap a computer screen and have the complete medical records of the patient instantly available. Unfortunately, this has not historically been the case in the real world. Instead, there was a long process of requesting to have records shared between providers and hospitals. This task could take weeks in some cases and make receiving emergency medical care in a new area exceedingly difficult.
Electronic medical records have the ability to track patient data over time and gives the patient access to their personal data far more quickly. They improve the overall quality of care a patient is able to receive, and makes it easier for patients to see whichever doctor they want. They also make it possible for physicians to see trends that may otherwise be missed and allow them to identify patients who are candidates for screenings and other preventative visits.
As we boldly move into a future that seems like something out of a science fiction show, one can’t help but wonder what technological marvels are still to come. Robotics is one area that is looking exceptionally promising. Imagine the possibilities of a personal care robot combined with virtual health care professionals. Healthcare is an innovative and exciting field to watch, now more than ever!