Making the Right Health Choices in Digital Health
As the second wave of COVID-19 is affecting people globally Telemedicine has become of paramount importance. Due to the rapid spread of the virus and lack of availability of effective treatment telemedicine is the safest and smartest option for you. Telemedicine or Virtual Visit has made healthcare facilities more accessible in these unprecedented times. In this article we will guide you to best practcies to choose the right telemedicine doctor that is right for your health needs.
If you haven’t tried Telemedicine until now then you will surely try it in the near future. Currently, there are too many options present and it can be a daunting task to pick the best one which suits and matches all your criteria. We have listed some great tips and pointers that can help you in selecting the best doctors for a telemedicine appointment.
How to select the right telemedicine provider for you
Narrow Down Your Search
There are numerous options all over the internet and they can literally be in your face just after a single Google search. Narrowing down your search for the right specialty doctor as per your indications or symptoms can serve half the purpose effectively. You can also scan through the reviews of the previous patients and get a hint from their experience. The next step can be having a simple conversation over the phone and asking relevant questions that will help you in deciding better.
Experience Over Anything
A doctor’s experience is equivalent to the practical knowledge he or she has acquired over the years while dealing with different types of patients and hence it is of utmost importance. Having an experienced medical practitioner not only gives you confidence in the process, but also ensures that you will have a reliable and practical solution to your problems. While scanning through the profile of a doctor you can easily find the number of experiences. You should also beware of any false claims or suspicious information that you find on the profile.
Qualification Is Key
Choosing a medical practitioner without a proper qualification is like investing your money in something expensive without getting anything in return. After scanning through the selected list of doctors, another important step is to check the qualifications and certificates of the doctors. Check whether the practitioner is having the recent certifications and the qualifications should be of the highest degree. Different countries have different certifying authorities and you can accordingly check the authenticity of the doctor.
A Good Conversation Equals Better Results
“Patients don’t want quick diagnosis, they need accurate ones”Dr. Kevin Pho, MD
Telehealth and Telemedicine are effective only when you can have a clear, transparent and effective conversation with the doctor. Telemedicine is the best option when you have an urgency and you want instant relief. Having a doctor who can understand your problems and helps you in calming your nerves is a great match. While choosing the doctor it is a great idea to have a look at the patients’ remarks and reviews before making an appointment. Communication is key while having an online appointment with the doctor.
“The patient knocking on your door is not your enemy. They’re sick. They’re scared. They’re in pain. They don’t know why, and they’re hoping for an answer. If you can’t find the source of a problem quickly, it doesn’t mean it’s not there.”Denise Reich is a patient advocate.
Affordable Consulting Fee
This is a very practical and essential point when it comes to choosing the best doctor for a telemedicine appointment. You can easily assess the best option for online consultation by comparing the fee with an in-person consultation. The fee can be inclusive of all the services provided by the doctor. The fee generally ranges between 40$-50$ but it can also differ if you take a monthly subscription.
The services might include video and audio calls, telephonic assistance, and timely follow-ups from the clinic. There are also certain free of cost options available like “Ask Doctor” on certain websites, these options can always come in handy when you are still contemplating the decision for the best online option.
When it comes to your health, it goes without saying that certain telehealth services will fall under a particular price point, whereas others may be higher depending on the complexity of your health issues, and of course the degree of specialization of your Telehealth provider.
Assigning a value-based consultation fee is an important marker for high end quality. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for (caveat emptor – latin for buyer beware). Basic health-related queries eg. fevers, colds, sprains can be very affordable on an out-of-pocket basis. However you should be aware that purchasing a scheduled appointment with an unusually low-priced provider may raise a lot of questions – such as credibility, liability and overall value experience.
Investing in the right online healthcare specialist requires a mature intellect in understanding that you are not just paying for a 30min Zoom meeting, you are actually investing in the shared knowledge of an expert who has personally invested 10yrs of postgraduate straining to have the latest practical knowledge about the complex health issues your loved one may have, especially the complex management required in chronic illnesses.
Prepare Your Medical Records
For your convenience, it is prudent to have a digital scan of your diagnostic reports such as xrays, MRIs and blood tests in your laptop. Even a good photo of these reports (especially the radiographer’s conclusions at the bottom) can be sufficiently saved in your smartphone gallery.
By taking the choice to share the data that you have, you are one step closer to being an informed and empowered patient.
Check The Prescription
Any prescription whether offline or online that you receive from the doctor should check all the necessary boxes like:
- The Name of the Doctor
- Registration Number
- Name of the Patient along with the Age
- Date of Consultation
- Clear pointers about your diagnosis and information on your health conditions.
- Signature of the Doctor
You can easily take a printout of the prescription and take it to any pharmacy to obtain the required medicines. It might not always happen that you receive a prescription after you consult with the doctor. The doctor will only provide your prescription in case of necessity. 
Some telemedicine platforms may have the ability and licensing to provide digital prescriptions and refills, which can be communicated to your closest pharmacy dispensary. Bear in mind that using a telemedicine provider without a prior diagnosis, initial visit or if the platform is based overseas – may not be the right choice for you to avail pharmaceutical services.
Scan Through Patients Reviews and Recommendations
As discussed above in the article, reviews and recommendations from other patients who are going through the same issues might help you in making the right decision. While going through these reviews you should be able to differentiate between authentic reviews and paid or Bot reviews, with the rise in technology you can often be faced with such challenges.
Telemedicine or EHealth is gaining popularity among people across the world because it has made healthcare accessible to people and especially elders who are often faced with the challenge of being without any assistance. It is not only keeping the patients safe but is also protecting the frontliners without them comprising on their duties.
It is a great asset to segments such as Cardiology and Psychiatry and is also saving a lot of beds, supplies and over expenditures that are generally accompanied by any treatment.  Telemedicine also allows you to have the undivided attention of your doctor even if it is briefly for 10 minutes, which is not likely the case in offline visits. We hope that this article helps you in choosing the right doctor for a Telemedicine Appointment.
1) U.S. News & World Report; “A Beginner’s Guide To A Virtual Doctor’s Visit; accessed on 15th April 2021; https://health.usnews.com/conditions/articles/a-beginners-guide-to-a-virtual-doctors-visit
2) innerbody research; “The Best Online Doctor in 2021”; accessed on 15th April 2021 https://www.innerbody.com/best-online-doctor
3) Journal of Diabetes Research; “The Importance of Telemedicine during COVID-19 Pandemic: A Focus on Diabetic Retinopathy; accessed on 15th April 2021; https://www.hindawi.com/journals/jdr/2020/9036847/
4) HealthTech; “6 Reasons Telehealth Is Now More Important Than Ever”; accessed on 15th April 2021; https://healthtechmagazine.net/article/2020/05/6-reasons-telehealth-now-more-important-ever
5) Digiqure; “Online Doctor Consultation In India |Tips You Must Consider”; accessed on 15th April 2021; https://digiqure.com/blog/online-consultation-dr-ausaf-p1
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