Virtual care doctors are a great boon for patients when they require immediate medical advice, but may not be able to actually visit a doctor. Advanced technology has made virtual doctors and telehealth a reality, enabling quality patient care to be provided to remote patients. Many doctors now extend service virtually through the internet to a broader audience and patients can access their doctor through emails, video conferencing or even telephonic conversation. These recordings can be transcribed into accurate patient records with medical transcription services. Virtual healthcare will increase the availability of medical care. According to the Park Marketing Research company, household consulting physicians via video will increase from 900,000 in 2013 to 22.6 in 2018 and the revenue is also expected to increase from $100 million to $13.7 billion in 2018.
Advantages of Virtual Care
- It is convenient for doctors and patients: Virtual care is a convenient option for doctors and patients because patients need not take day off from work and doctors can provide the service at any time. This is a very helpful option especially for patients with post-partum depression, patients who are in jail, those who are travelling, and those who are immobile.
- Virtual waiting room is better than physical waiting room: Many patients are averse to spending long hours waiting to see the doctor. This is particularly so, when they have to share a room with other sick people, especially in the case of elders who have a weak immune system. Virtual care system helps patients to consult a doctor from the convenience of their own home.
- Better patient engagement: Video conferencing or telehealth allows direct contact with patients. This makes patients feel that they get better care and attention through a virtual visit.
The Example of Methodist Family Health Centre
MethodistNOW provides virtual patient care with licensed and board-certified doctors. It is a convenient and affordable option for patients to receive quality care and this is how it works:
- Provide your symptoms: The first and foremost step is to undergo an online health interview by answering how the patient feels and mention all the symptoms. If required, post a photograph of the patient also using smartphones, tablets or other devices. The entire process of interview takes only about 5 to 10 minutes.
- Doctor reviews the medical document: Once the documents are submitted, within 60 minutes a MethodistNOW doctor will review the responses from the patients and develop a treatment plan. If the virtual visit is during after-hours, then the patient will receive the response the next day. In case the patient cannot be treated online, he/she is asked to pay a visit to the hospital but no cost is charged for the visits.
- Select your pharmacy: Once the treatment plan is ready it will have a link to prescription. After filling up the prescription field, the patient can choose a pharmacy and send the prescription to them. This is an easy process.
Any individual above 18 years of age can create a MethodistNOW account but in the case of minor patients, the account must be completed by a parent. Apart from cold and flu, MethodistNOW doctors can provide patient care in case of sinus infection, pink eye, bladder infection, and motion sickness. The quality of service provided by virtual doctors is the same as that patients receive when they pay a personal visit to the doctor.
Virtual care is a new form of medical application that makes it easier to provide timely and efficient patient care. It can minimize hospital admissions, increase the number of patients who can be seen and ensure better post hospital patient care when hospitals become less crowded. Virtual care doctors also can count on the dedicated services of a medical transcription company for accurate and clear documentation.