Online Doctors’ Appointments – The Way Of The Future Or Ineffective? [OPINION]
I am knocking on wood and counting all of my lucky pennies before I write this, but I don't have to go to the Doctor very often. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I had a Doctor's visit up until this week when I scheduled my first ever online appointment.
When I realized that I needed some prescription medication that I have taken in the past, I reached out to my usual Doctor's office to see if I could get a refill of the prescription. Unfortunately, it had been too long since I last got prescribed for this specific medication so, I would be required to go into the Doctor's office for an appointment.
Out of mere laziness, I did not want to go to my usual Doctor as their office does not make appointments. I would have to show up to the office and wait in line like everyone else to get prescribed for a medication I had previously used.
This is what led me to the idea of scheduling an online Doctor's appointment. I have never had one, but knew that many Doctors' offices were doing online visits with the current state of the pandemic.
I found out that my healthcare coverage allowed for online Doctor visits and got set up with a local office as a new patient so that I could schedule the appointment. That part of the process was really easy for me, but I don't want to speak to that aspect of my experience, as different Doctor's offices may not run as smoothly as the one I went with.
What I really want to talk about is the actual appointment I had with the Doctor through my iPhone... When I tell you that this was the quickest, most painless and efficient appointment of any kind I have ever had - I am not exaggerating.
I hopped into the video call 10 minutes early to be safe, but good ole' Doc was on my phone screen before I knew it. He first made sure that I was in the state of Louisiana and then went on to ask what the purpose of my visit was.
After explaining my needs, the Doctor was able to explain the side-effects of what the medicine was treating and prescribe my necessary medication. The entire call with the Doctor took under 5 minutes.
After hanging up with the really nice Doctor, who also agreed that it was an easy appointment, I felt the need to let people know how quick and easy an online Doctor's appointment can be.
Now, I am not Doctor and will not give you health advice at all. I also understand that the nature of everyones' needs for a Doctor vary, so an online appointment may not be as effective depending on what your needs are.
But let me just tell you this - if you have a need for a Doctor's appointment and can consider an online option, I would highly recommend it! Many options I saw online for appointments had Doctors taking appointments well into the evening and much later than traditional offices would be open.
If we can trust a Doctor to prescribe our medication online, I think there is endless possibilities for people to change in-person appointments to over the phone or webcam appointments as has been evident over the past year.
Voting? Let's do it online. DMV? Go all online (except for the driving test LOL).
Everything that people HATE to have and go do, if there is even a glimmer of possibility that we can safely complete these tasks online - LETS DO IT!
I will end this opinion piece with a massive THANK YOU that goes out to everyone working in healthcare throughout the pandemic!