Take these steps to make your online doctor consultation even more efficient and effective. Together we can make healthcare more convenient and accessible.
Online physician consultation platforms have evolved since the 1980’s when first pioneered by the U.S. Army. Today, online interaction is almost seamless with the proliferation of the Internet and smartphones making audio, video, and high-resolution graphics easily integrated into a user-friendly online experience. Additionally, the lack of medical personnel in rural or developing areas supports the need for medical advice from a distance. This article will demonstrate how to maximize your online doctor consultation experience.
What is this? I can speak to a doctor online?
First of all, what is an online consultation? You can speak to a doctor online, on demand– wherever you are! This service allows anyone in Singapore to pay $20 to instantly consult with a Singapore licensed doctor, via a video call from their mobile phone, laptop, or any web-enabled device. With online consultations, the only task at hand is feeling better. There is no need to stress about how you’re going to get to the clinic, or who is going to watch your children or pets while you’re out of the house. The focus is purely on talking to the doctor– getting advice on how to feel better as quickly as possible.
Most Singaporeans seeking medical advice are used to having a doctor perform physical checks on them when they are sick. As a result of that, we feel uneasy with the concept of an online doctor giving us a diagnosis without performing these checks. While physical examinations are important for the diagnosis of certain diseases, common reasons for a GP visit such as the flu, sore throat, cough etc. can usually be diagnosed accurately without performing physical tests.
Virtual care is not meant to replace primary care. As mentioned above, there are conditions where a patient should visit a GP in person in order to get the appropriate tests done. Yet, telemedicine technology is still able to address a significant number of conditions that people visit a GP for. In 2014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) conducted a survey and found that 65% of all GP visits are for acute, likely self-limiting (i.e. can recover on its own), conditions. The vast majority of the time, when we visit a doctor, it is because we either want a prescription drug for symptomatic relief, or we want a medical certificate to rest at home. These conditions can probably be handled much more efficiently over telemedicine.
Before the consultation
Ensure you’re in a quiet space with a stable internet connection so the doctor will be able to see and hear you effectively. If your environment or technological restrictions cause the doctor to feel that they are not able to communicate effectively with you they are trained not to proceed with the consultation. Our number one concern is to provide you with high-quality care. If the doctors on our platform cannot do so, they will direct you to alternative resources.
During the consultation, the doctor will have several basic questions that they ask to get started, so it’s useful if you prepare a brief medical summary in anticipation of these questions. This preparation will serve to further the doctor’s analysis of your condition, helping your physician to efficiently tailor the questions and the consultation. This process is also beneficial for traditional in-person consultations, but unfortunately most people don’t take the time to adhere to it.
Items to include in your medical history are:
- onset, duration, location, nature of medical issue;
- any treatments tried so far and if the treatments were successful;
- any past laboratory or diagnostic tests done;
- significant past medical history and surgical history; and
- list any medications currently administered and allergies to which you are susceptible.
- Avoid backlight: don't position yourself such that the primary light source is behind you.
- Avoid overhead lights: lights positioned directly above you will cast a shadow over your face, and/or result in a distracting glare.
- Ideally, your light source should be behind the camera, pointing towards you.
- Your camera should always be at eye level, and the frame should at least include your entire face + your shoulders.
- Ensure that your background is tidy and free of distractions.
- Do not speak too quickly, avoid loud background noise.
- Make sure that their doctors are licensed to practice in Singapore.
- They should have a registration process where they collect your personal information so that they can keep a proper medical record for you.
- They should clearly state the applicable use cases for their services.
- They should have a process for collecting feedback from patients.
- You should easily be able to access your consultation history on the platform.
This may seem daunting: a lot of information has been sent your way. The bottom line is that online consultations are always an option you can turn to for convenient medical advice. Furthermore, most common acute conditions can be handled through online consultations.
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