Telehealth Online Consultation with Doctor

Online Consultations: A Look at Alternatives to In-Person Medical Consults

In an increasingly fast-paced society,  pressure for medical practitioners to offer online services is growing. Although face-to-face communication has long been the norm in the medical industry, online consultations have recently become accepted worldwide. In this article, we’ll dive into the different types of online consulting platforms. We will also take a close look at various academic studies and what they conclude regarding the overall effectiveness of each of these platforms.

Telephone

Being one of the most basic methods of communication, telephones have been used even before the era of online consulting as a means for doctors, counselors, and other medical professionals to provide timely advice to their patients. Despite its inability to show the patient’s face, talking on the phone has provided medical experts with the ability to relay important information without the need for a patient to come into the office or clinic. Their ease of use also makes them a great option for older adults who are not as technologically savvy. Now, let’s look at what researchers have to say about telephones and their relationship to online consulting.

The Study

In a study by BMJ journals, researchers Trisha Greenhalg and Shanti Vijayaraghavan explored the advantages and disadvantages of telephone consultations. The study was conducted using two contrasting clinic settings in London, United Kingdom. The data was collected and analyzed using a sociotechnical framework that provides a basis for the diversity of human behavior.

doctor holding phone consultation

Overall, the researchers found that there are many benefits and shortcomings when it comes to phone consultations. Firstly, the telephone enabled doctors to treat acute illnesses in a fast-paced manner without needing them to come to the clinic. If the patient was able to describe their symptoms logically and coherently, the doctor was always able to provide an accurate diagnosis. The doctor was also able to prescribe treatment plans to use after the telephone meeting had concluded and provided the patient with a game plan to follow.

However, Greenhalg and Vijayaraghavan found one of the most notable setbacks is its nature to miss rare but significant conditions. Because these serious conditions were not always solved over the telephone, it would then lead to in-person consultations.

In addition, because diagnoses would have to be made without a visual, telephone consultations were not great for beginner doctors. According to a study by Brian McKinstry, doctors would need considerable ability and judgment to provide an accurate course of action for the patient. The telephone consultations also followed a more linear format which made it difficult for the patient to raise concerns in a spontaneous manner.

Text messaging

Although a more informal method of communication, text messaging allows patients to communicate with doctors on the go. Unlike telephone calls, there is no need for a doctor and patient to arrange a time to call; each can respond whenever they have the time to do so. Let’s look at another study that examined the effectiveness of text messaging interactions in the medical world.

Using a text messaging system called “Sweet Talk,” Victoria Franklin and her team analyzed the effectiveness of online communication with a group of young, diabetic people.

Overall, the study concluded that this platform was very popular and received high remarks from young people who could ask questions to their doctor in a convenient manner. As a result, this text messaging system was able to engage young people and make them more involved with their health. It also created a sense of community and further strengthened the doctor/patient relationship.

However, the study also found that this platform was best suited for non-urgent, passive questions that did not require an immediate response. Therefore, it would be best served as a supplement to an alternative online consultation platform.

 

Email Consultations

Doctor holding email consultation

An already popular method of communication among medical experts is the use of email to advise patients. Similar to text messages, doctors and patients can respond to messages on the go without a meeting time. Unlike text messages, email is considered more formal, which allows practitioners to establish a more professional relationship. Following suit with this idea, let’s take a look at a few academic studies.

According to two studies run by Sheikh Car and another research study performed by Pappas Atherton, while some demographics desire to communicate over email, there is a significant problem when it comes to access. That is, those who are older, lower-income, and have low technological literacy may struggle to use an online emailing platform. Due to this, email consultations tend to fare best with individuals who have a more developed knowledge of technology.

Furthermore, various qualitative studies have concluded that there is uncertainty regarding the safety and rules of engagement in email consultations. As a result, it is recommended that healthcare clinics provide specific, public rules when it comes to online etiquette that is expected to be followed on behalf of both the patient and doctor.

 

Online Portals

Online portals have long been used as a supplement for many healthcare powerhouses; however, there is limited research into its ability to stand alone as a communication method. Greenhalgh and her team attempted to close this research gap with a case study in regards to the healthcare platform, HealthSpace.

After conducting a thorough analysis, Greenhalgh found that while online portals are convenient ways to schedule appointments, order prescriptions, and store important information, they are not sufficiently effective in all aspects of health. Rather, they seemed to only be useful in research settings as their features are best suited for tracking analytics and other tangible data.

 

Telemedicine/Telehealth

As a relatively new online option, both telemedicine and telehealth have taken the reins in providing quality healthcare remotely. In fact, an academic study led by Adam Steventon noted that online telehealth platforms actually reduce hospital admission and mortality rates across all age groups. Being able to see a patient live, with video, has also been shown to increase the accuracy of diagnoses. Therefore, it is clear that telehealth can be a significant health booster despite its nontraditional setup.

Doctor holding telehealth online consultation

Type of Consultation  Main Pro Main Con
Telephone Diagnoses in a timely manner Possibility of incorrectly diagnosing or missing serious conditions due to the lack of a visual of the patient
Text Messaging Help people to be more involved in their health due to its informal nature Lacks ability for a doctor to answer questions instantaneously
Email Consultations Formal communication any time or day It may be difficult to use for those who struggle with health and technology
Online Portals Convenient access to patient’s data/medical history Does not necessarily provide an avenue for doctor/patient communication
Telemedicine/Telehealth Ability to see patient live, on video Telehealth software often require external resources to be able to provide seamless consultations

At this point, you may be considering taking the leap into telehealth and expanding your medical clinic to the web. However, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to making this transition. Luckily, we have the perfect solution for you… our online platform called Yondo!

What is Yondo Telehealth and How Does It Work?

Doctor holding online consultation

Yondo telehealth is an all-in-one solution that allows you to sell your consultations online via phone or video sessions. Not only can you make money using our platform, but most importantly, we provide a smooth, easy-to-use service that allows you to do what you do best without the hassle. Let’s take a look at some of the features that make Yondo a top-rated platform by healthcare professionals.

Firstly, Yondo provides the ability to conduct seamless online consultations. Yondo offers an all-in-one booking calendar that allows you to manage your online appointments. That way, you can manage all your clients from one place. Your clients can also sign up for appointments according to your availability using this booking calendar.

Yondo also enables you to have your branding on your domain. This means that if you already have an established online presence, you don’t need to go through all the effort to switch your clinic over to our software. Our platform can be directly integrated into your website, making it incredibly easy for your patients to book a session right from your website.

One of the most notable attributes about Yondo is that we are an e-commerce platform. By integrating Yondo with Stripe and PayPal, you can choose the most convenient monetization method for your clinic. These monetization options include monthly subscriptions, one-time purchases, and pay-per-view rentals. There is no need to go through the process of setting up a third-party monetization method!

 

Which platform do we recommend?

Overall, there are many different options when it comes to online consultation platforms. While each platform offers its own pros and cons, telehealth has been able to assert itself as the leading online consultation method because of its convenience, the ability for a medical expert to provide accurate diagnoses promptly, and the potential to stimulate a patient’s overall healthcare experience. If you are looking to make the switch online and believe that Yondo’s features may be a great fit for your needs, please check out our website for more information on how to get started!

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