The internet and computing has changed almost every industry on the planet. In most cases, these changes are for the better. The internet gives customers and consumers more power, more efficiency, and more access. But, is the case the same in the world of healthcare? Is our most trusted and respected institution improved by the internet? Is there really any substitute for visiting your doctor and getting a face-to-face diagnoses? Well, it’s too early to determine the true extent of this effect. But, one thing is clear; healthcare is changing. Here’s how:
1. The social media effect – When Mark Zuckerberg came up with Facebook, we’re not sure he imagined doctors dispensing advice on the platform! Yet, every day on Facebook and Twitter, healthcare accounts are passing out medical advice. Sometimes, it’s general dietary and lifestyle advice. In other cases, it’s targeted, specific answers to questions. In others, it’s full scale diagnoses. The internet provides unprecedented personal care to patients all over the world.
2. Direct contact to doctors – Following on from this point is the issue of direct access. It’s not just happening on social media. Direct doctor access is happening on forums and chat boxes. Patients can now get a full diagnosis from the comfort of their own home. Undoubtedly, this provides a broader reach for patients, but is there a better quality of care? There is one main benefit here, however. Patients can get in direct contact with their doctors from their home. If they are unable to get to the surgery, the internet helps them receive medical advice.
3. Downloadable patient information – The internet has boosted efficiency in every sector. It is one of the best things about the world wide web. When it comes to healthcare, patients can now access their records and prescriptions. They can tap into their local doctor’s website using a secure login. They can confirm appointments, double check their medicine, and print off patient forms. It reduces the amount of administration that takes place, and speeds up patient access.
4. Ratings and reviews – The internet provides a level playing field for all. Every product and service is opened up to scrutiny from public reviews. Doctors, nurses, and healthcare services are no different. Websites now exist for patients to rate their experiences. It has become an essential part of medical marketing statistics. It measures how well doctors are performing in terms of customer satisfaction.
5. Online diagnoses – Of course, the most controversial issue here is online diagnoses. For simple ailments, the system is a great way of reducing real-world waiting times. If patients can diagnose a common cold or simple condition online, they can seek over-the-counter treatments. It frees up doctors for more important conditions. On the other hand, there is the underlying issue of misdiagnosis and hypochondria. Patients can quickly convince themselves they’ve got something much worse!
There’s no doubt that the internet has a positive effect on the world of healthcare. Most institutions are intent on improving the diagnosis process. However, the improvement in efficiency and access is undoubtedly something to be proud of!