While telemedicine existed before the pandemic, the past two years have made it commonplace to see your doctor on a computer screen. A GP online consultation is a good way to see your doctor and get answers about your health without the risks of going to a clinic.
There are quite a lot of benefits to having an online appointment with your doctor. In many cases, you can do the checks yourself, using a thermometer and checking your own pulse rate. If you do need more advanced medical care, the doctor will direct you to either visit the hospital or to come into the medical clinic. However, you can receive prescriptions and exam orders from an online consultation, so in many cases, it’s not necessary to see the doctor in person.
Benefits of a GP Consultation Online
Some of these benefits are more obvious than others, but overall, the ability to talk to your doctor online has created a better opportunity for many people to get medical care.
Other benefits include:
See a Doctor Sooner
With no waiting room, it’s easier for the GP to keep appointments short and to the point. When you go into the office, you expect a certain amount of time spent with the doctor. After all, you’ve invested time and energy to travel there and more time while you waited in the waiting room. With the ability to simply call your doctor over a video call, it becomes possible to have short appointments that are just as thorough.
There is also no delay while you wait for your doctor or nurse to prepare the exam room. Instead, the doctor is free to move on to the next appointment, which means you will often get to see local doctors much faster than if you were to go to their office.
Stay in the Comfort of Your Own Home
Many people prefer to stay home, particularly at the moment. It’s safer and you don’t have to get dressed up to leave the house. For anyone who dislikes going out, a doctor’s appointment at home is the perfect alternative to going to the clinic.
Talk to Your Doctor While Travelling
Another huge benefit of talking to local doctors online is that you can be travelling and still enjoy clinical services via video chat. If you suddenly fall ill while visiting your family, the doctor can be seen online from anywhere. This also means you can continue to monitor existing health conditions while you travel, as long as you don’t need any physical clinical services.
Talk to Your Doctor While Travelling
Trying to get a physical GP appointment can take a long time. There may not be any openings when you are available, or you’ll find that there are no appointments for the next few weeks. Online GP consultations tend to be much more efficient. In most cases, you can book an appointment for the same day and still find a doctor who is able to see you. The ease and convenience make this method of medical consultation very popular.
Have a GP Consultation from Work
There’s no need to take a day off work just to see a doctor. If you have a health issue that is non-contagious or if you are simply seeing the doctor to monitor an ongoing health problem, you can do this anywhere. Rather than take an entire day away from work, you can schedule a break to see the doctor from your office. It’s a far more efficient method of seeking medical health.
Get Refill Prescriptions Without Going to a Clinic
If you take medication that you need to see a doctor for on an ongoing basis, it can be frustrating to go into an appointment just for a prescription. However, with online medicine, you can speak with the doctor and get your prescription without leaving your home. You can even have your appointment while you sit in your vehicle outside the pharmacy.
Avoid Crowded Waiting Rooms
Anyone can tell you that a doctor’s waiting room is a petri dish of germs and viruses. If the past two years have taught you anything, it’s that you should avoid enclosed spaces with people who are ill. The waiting room is a good place to pick up more health problems, so if you can possibly avoid it, you should.
When you have a GP consultation in your living room, there’s no issue with germs or being in contact with other people. It’s all safe and comfortable.
Who Can Use Telemedicine Appointments?
Anyone who is from the UK can use the NHS GP online consultation service. However, it’s not appropriate for emergencies or any medical situation where you will definitely need face-to-face aid. For example, if you have broken your arm, you will need to see a doctor in person to cast it. If you are bleeding or injured, it’s important that you go straight to the hospital. The online options are not for emergencies and it’s better to get straight to the hospital where they can begin to help you immediately.
Common reasons to use an online GP appointment include:
You feel ill. If you’re experiencing stomach pain, sore throat, diarrhoea, constipation, or vomiting, etc. you may want to speak with a doctor about how to treat it. The doctor will also assess you for dehydration and will let you know when it is necessary to have exams done or when to go to the hospital.
You need a refill on a prescription. Most prescriptions require the doctor to see you before giving you another script. Online is a completely acceptable way to fulfil this requirement.
You have a rash or other skin condition. You can talk to a dermatologist when you’re registered with the NHS and this can help you determine what the issue is. The dermatologist may prescribe medication to help or can give you tips on the best way to heal your skin.
You need a sick note. You may need to have a note from a doctor in order to stay home while you are ill, skipping work or school. This is easily done online.
There are many other reasons you may wish to have an online video consultation with a doctor, but rest assured it’s all acceptable. The doctors are there to help you and will give you the best possible attention. It may not be exactly the same as going to the office, but you skip the traffic and get a faster response, so it’s a win-win situation.
What to Expect From Your Online Consultation
Before your appointment, you should make a list of your symptoms and keep track of any medications you’re taking. This will be necessary in order to relay the information to the doctor. Once you have registered online, you can make your appointment. Your doctor will talk to you via a video chat and assess your condition, based on your own information. For example, you may need to take your temperature or check your pulse, while the doctor supervises.
With the basics out of the way, the doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and the severity of your condition. They can assess you through the video and how you speak, to determine if you should be referred to a specialist or to a hospital. You may be asked to send photos of any rashes or marks on your body, as well, to aid in diagnosis.
The doctor will determine what the issue is and let you know the appropriate treatment. If this includes medication, the doctor will write a prescription for you and you can then either order it from your local drugstore or go and pick it up. The entire process is easy and stress-free, but you’ll have some answers after the call is over. If the health issue persists, you can simply schedule another appointment. Be sure to track what you have done so the doctor can discuss alternatives if you know what doesn’t work.
Overall, telehealth is a remarkable advancement in healthcare options. It allows more people to reach doctors than ever before and even helps those who would never leave their homes to see a doctor. The ease of making an appointment allows you to consult with a doctor at the last minute, so you don’t need to deal with the symptoms longer than necessary just because you can’t get an appointment.
If you haven’t signed up for NHS services yet, you should certainly do so. It could change the way you manage your own health, as well as that of your family. Download the app and make your first appointment today.