Most… but not all.
Online doctors are the same as in-office doctors you visit. They are covered by the same laws and rules governing the practice of medicine. The former may be subjected to further limitations than when they practice in-office, but the quality of healthcare they offer does not diminish. However, other fields of medicine cannot expand to the online world because of their nature, which might require actual hands-on intervention from the physician. There may be conditions they cannot treat or diagnose remotely and tests they can’t perform without the proper device and assistance to do it. A very clear example of this would be physical therapy. Nonetheless, you can be sure that they can effectively treat medical conditions they are allowed to diagnose, treat, and provide proper medications for.
Primarily for Non-Urgent Illnesses
Online doctor visits are highly recommended for non-emergency cases and non-urgent situations only. They come from a wide range of various medical specialties and subspecialties. Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Counseling, Men’s and Women’s Health, Endocrinology, Cardiology, Urology, Dermatology, Dentistry, Opthalmology, Infectious Diseases, Gynecology, Nephrology, Oncology, Radiology, Pulmonology, and many others are part of the growing industry of telemedicine. Most of the illnesses associated with these fields of medicine are better diagnosed, treated, and offered daily and aftercare by an online doctor or online panels of doctors. You can receive the same service level and treatment under these fields online as you would in-office or face-to-face with your doctor.
Aside from giving an initial assessment, you can also seek online doctors for second opinions to correct misdiagnosis and ask for proposals for other treatment options or plans. Most conditions can be treated and managed by online doctors because these specialists and experts are more accessible than in-office or clinics. Some even offer 24/7 services, so if you have questions about your illness, medication, or if a new symptom or side effect occurs, you can always reach them through a chosen platform, which could be through e-mail, text, chat, or any other app.
Online doctors can closely monitor patients through the remote patient monitoring category of telemedicine. It is where medical and laboratory results taken by devices at home are directly sent to a provider with the patient’s prior consent. Due to this automatic transmission of medical information, any changes in the patient’s vitals or condition can be easily detected, and modifications in the treatment plan can be made accordingly to treat the patient effectively. In some instances, like in diabetes care, the patient can provide information about their sugar intake and blood sugar level daily through the telemedicine provider’s app. The same can also be done in conditions like hypertension, weight management, quitting smoking, managing side effects of cancer treatment, and other circumstances that require close monitoring.
Not every illness can be diagnosed through an online doctor.
If you are feeling ill, exhibiting symptoms, or simply not feeling in your best shape, you can ask an online doctor, and they will properly diagnose you through the information you provide to them. However, not all conditions can be diagnosed or much less treated at first glance or a first encounter. If they think that those are not enough to give you a comprehensive and accurate diagnosis, they may ask you to take laboratory tests or scans so they can fully understand the source and cause of your illness. This way, you can be diagnosed and treated accurately.
If you are not sure about medical conditions which you can have checked with an online doctor, below is a non-exclusive list of common conditions treated via an online doctor:
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Basal cell carcinoma
Chronic kidney diseases
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
Computer Vision Syndrome
Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
Mental Health Disorders
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Squamous cell carcinoma
Staphylococcus aureus infections
Suspicious spots and moles
Thinning of eyebrows and lashes
Urinary Tract Infection
As reflected on the list, almost all common medical conditions can be consulted and treated online by a board-certified physician. But just like every general rule, there are always exceptions. Emergency cases, those that exhibit severe symptoms, those that need further examinations and laboratories, and those that require surgery or hands-on examination cannot be the subject of online visits or remote consultations with the doctor.
If you have a serious injury… Go to the ER!
An online doctor cannot treat medical situations such as bone fractures, brain or head injuries, severe bleeding, coughing blood, stroke, fainting or loss of consciousness, chest pain, and other similar conditions. These cases require immediate care, and the patient should be sent to the ER, a clinic, or other healthcare facilities where doctors personally attend to them. These are limitations that cannot be addressed by modern technology.
Some online doctors and providers only cover an exclusive list of medical conditions via telemedicine. It is best to check their site for the type of conditions they treat or the experts available on their board so you can be sure that your medical concern can be properly addressed and treated.
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