The rise of covid and the subsequent lockdowns resulted in more people than ever before using an online healthcare service. If you’re thinking of switching services, or are looking for an online doctor for the first time, use the guide below to make sure you cover all the bases and have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your healthcare needs will be met in the best possible way.
Check Their Licence Status
First things first, when you’re looking for an online doctor, it is vitally important to check that they have all the required licenses and certifications to practice. To do this, simply go to the providers’ website and check the credentials listed there; if you have trouble locating them, call up the office and ask. Once you’ve established this, phone the relevant licensing body to verify these qualifications and licenses.
It’s also a good idea to find out whether the doctor you are considering is trained and experienced in handling virtual appointments to satisfy yourself of their professional competence in this regard, as online appointments require additional skills to those conducted in person.
As well as qualifications, check the doctors’ experience, too. Don’t be hesitant to ask – a reputable doctor or practice will have no problem in providing you with this information and being open to discussing with you any query or concern that you have.
Ask About Services Provided
Once you’ve established that your potential online doctor is suitably qualified, the next step is to ascertain the services that make up the provision on offer. Many online doctors will have the facility to refer you for additional services that they don’t provide, such as face-to-face appointments or consultation with a specialist. Online providers can usually offer a very wide range of services, covering a multitude of conditions. Discover more here about one such online healthcare provider and what they are able to treat; as you’ll see, the list is fairly exhaustive, with everything from bronchitis to back pain and anxiety disorders to contact lens issues featuring.
Most online doctors have several specialists making up a part of their team, which patients will be able to consult with as necessary; these can include, but are not limited to, allergists, cardiologists, gynecologists, and nutritionists.
Consider Your Needs
It is crucial to think about your individual needs to make sure that the online service you choose to sign up with will fully meet them and support you as part of the process. As part of this, consider any existing medical conditions you have, such as asthma or diabetes, and the extent to which you would still like your original doctor to be kept in the loop in terms of your care. Some online providers are happy to work in tandem with others, whilst others may prefer a more standalone approach. If you have mental health problems, check the level of support on offer and how this can be accessed.
If your working hours mean that you are usually only available to attend virtual appointments on select days and at set times, it’s important to find out the likelihood of you being able to easily schedule an appointment, or whether there could be a chance that you will need to wait for a significant period for an available slot that would suit you.
Finally, ascertain whether you require the full services of an online doctor or whether you would prefer to stay with your existing practice but would like to sign-up for an online prescription ordering service to enable you to better manage this side of your healthcare needs.
When weighing up the choices available, look carefully at the cost of provision, paying special attention to whether or not there are any additional charges for service that could easily mount up – these could include extra fees payable for weekend or evening appointments or for the writing of prescriptions. Be sure to read the small print on all contracts that you are sent. As part of this process, you will need to establish whether the online healthcare providers you are looking at are offering their services in a way that is compatible with your health insurance and, if so, whether this would make extra premiums payable. Check, too, about whether there is a charge for children to be seen; some online doctors will provide their services free of charge to those under the age of fifteen.
Customer Service Provision
Establishing the customer service provision that an online doctor offers is key when it comes to deciding which is the right one for you. Find out what kind of support will be available if, for example, technical difficulties mean that you are having trouble accessing the platform to attend your appointment and whether this support operates out of hours.
A good means of checking customer support provision – as well as the overall quality of the service – is to spend some time reading online reviews; this is an easy way to find out how other patients experienced the service and any problems that they faced.
Any information found on the site does not constitute legal or medical advice. Should you face health issues, please visit your doctor to get yourself diagnosed. Icy Health offers expert opinions and advice for informational purposes only. This is not a substitute for professional medical advice.