Nearly half of the World Health Organization's member states have less than 1 doctor per 1,000 people. This results in unfulfilled healthcare needs; doctors are oversubscribed, patients face long queues at clinics, or in many cases people have no access to healthcare professionals at all.
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Advances in technology, data security and internet access mean that having a video consultation with a doctor from the comfort of your own home - using any mobile device - has never been easier. Here are just a few cases where speak to a doctor remotely might be the optimal solution.
1. When getting to the doctor isn’t easy
When you're away on vacation, busy at work, or feeling too ill to travel to the doctor, the convenience of a remote consultation can be a huge relief. You can talk to a doctor from home or any chosen space, using your phone, tablet or computer.
2. If a clinical setting makes you uncomfortable
Some people feel uncomfortable visiting the doctor. Whether it’s a waiting room full of sick people or the clinical feel of a doctor’s office, you can avoid discomfort via a remote consultation. If you find it hard to leave your home due to a busy parenting schedule, or due to PTSD, depression, or other forms of anxiety, you are able to receive the help you need remotely. A recent study shows that remote psychiatric consultations can be just as effective as face-to-face therapy.
3. For an initial evaluation of a medical issue
If you’re unsure whether your health concern is serious enough to go to the clinic, checking in with a doctor remotely can help. The vast majority of doctor’s appointments are very quick - often less than 5 minutes. Gaining enough expert information at home to reassure yourself about the severity of your health issue can save a trip to the doctor, or conversely, prompt you to make sure you take the time to get that important physical examination.
4. If you’re seeking a second opinion
Many people use telemedicine to gain a second opinion on their doctor’s diagnosis. If an initial visit to the doctor hasn’t reassured you, the opportunity to select a doctor online based on their qualifications and area of expertise can be especially useful.
5. If you prefer anonymity
Some people prefer the relative anonymity of an online consultation. It can be difficult discussing a sensitive problem, and the ease of chatting from home with a doctor of your preference, with whom you have no pre-existing relationship, can make this easier.
6. When you want to choose a doctor at your own leisure
Often it’s the luck of the draw as to which on-duty doctor sees you at a clinic. Using the RingMD platform, you can read through each doctor’s bio, and select a specialist in the field you require by using the search function to enter your symptoms. You can choose a male or female practitioner, or select paediatric or geriatric-focused medical practitioners for example.
Sometimes you will need to see a doctor face-to-face, and the role of telemedicine is not to replace physical examinations. In many cases, however, a remote visual examination and live conversation with a medical expert can provide vital reassurance with regard to your health concerns, whilst saving both time and discomfort. With the quality of videoconferencing increasing tremendously in recent years, and the latest HIPAA-compliant security technology ensuring calls are 100% confidential, the option of ‘visiting’ the doctor from the comfort of your own home is an increasingly welcome one!
We're trying to make healthcare more accessible and convenient for everyone. In some places, like Singapore, this means making your primary care experience much more convenient. Why leave home to find a doctor if you don't have to? You can speak with a doctor online on RingMD. Avoid sick people in busy waiting rooms and skip the traffic jam. Consult a doctor online, right now! When appropriate, the doctor is able to provide you with a signed Medical Certificate (MC) if you need one for work or school reasons. In other places, such as rural India, this means helping people see doctors for the first time in their lives. We think this is important stuff.
We're also focusing on increasing access to mental health care. If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but don't know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!
Lastly, if you're a doctor or wellness expert considering offering virtual care services, here are some arguments to consider. Thousands of people a month, in Singapore alone, search for things like "doctors near me" or "gp near me", if you're looking to grow your practice this is a great way to do it.