In-person vs Online Doctor Consultation: Which is better for your elderly?

Young Asia Male Doctor White Medical Uniform Using Laptop Talking Video Conference Call With Senior Doctor Desk Health Clinic Hospital

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about having a health check-up with your doctor? Most people would say having an in person visit.

However, the landscape of health systems significantly changed during the recent Covid-19 pandemic. It prevented people from having a medical appointment scheduled.

Since medical consultation with healthcare professionals is essential to ensure your sickness does not get worse, many doctors resorted to virtual consultation to provide remote patient monitoring through virtual appointment or video visits.

This article will tackle the key differences between telehealth appointment or remote consultations and in person health visits or in person care.

What do you prefer between the two? How are personal visits to the doctor compared to telemedicine visits or virtual consultations?

Let’s find out.

Veering Away from the Routine Medical Practices

The routine medical practices changed a lot when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. It affected health care providers, health plans, and the healthcare industry in general.

It prompted medical professionals to limit doctor office visits to ensure the safety of people against the virus.

Patients also preferred limiting their exposure outdoors. Aside from the introduction of telehealth services, the pandemic also paved the way for many people to become dependent on health apps.

In Singapore, March 2020 health data showed that a whopping 156 percent of users were added to the daily active users of Doctor Anywhere, which is a telemedicine app. The data proves that many people are open-minded about telemedicine services and would set virtual visit rather than a regular doctor visit.

There’s a seemingly high satisfaction rate of telemedicine visits and other telehealth services. Additionally, many health experts predict that these telehealth services are here to stay with or without a pandemic.

The 5 Key Differences of In Person Visits vs Telehealth Services

An in person visit has many advantages and disadvantages. This also goes for telemedicine services.

How do they differ? Here are the main differences between doctor office visits compared with virtual visits for a medical appointment:

1. Virtual health care appointments are more impersonal than seeing your doctor in person

If you want in person care, you must seek face to face visits with a health care expert. However, you may get used to telehealth or an online doctor consultation as you do it more often.

Telehealth is convenient for both the patient and the doctor, as long as the sickness is not something that needs urgent treatment. Your primary care physician can pull out your electronic health records and come up with health advice based on your answers to their questions.

In telemedicine appointments, you will need to get your own blood pressure and perform certain medical tests to give the telemedicine providers a concrete idea of the state of your health.

2. Telehealth is more convenient than in person visits and in person care

Virtual visits are more accessible and convenient for people who live in rural areas or anywhere far from the doctor’s clinic or hospital. Virtual care allows them to talk to a health expert to assess their medical history and findings without leaving their homes.

They also don’t need to fall in line or endlessly wait for their number to be called when waiting for the doctor to become available in a health care facility.

3. In person consultations make it easier to develop valuable doctor patient relationship than virtual care

It is especially important to form a connection with your primary care when it is the first or second time you’d meet each other. A good patient doctor relationship will make it easier for you to open up and be sincere regarding your health.

This is something that will take longer when you often resort to virtual visits.

4. Telemedicine technology is safer than in person care since it’s virtual

Since the pandemic, many people are still paranoid about the potential threats they can get exposed to, especially in a health care setting, such as a hospital or the clinic of your primary care doctor.

A telehealth appointment is suited for patients with a weak immune system or suffering from chronic illnesses.

5. Your health insurance coverage may not cover remote consultations 

While commercial health plans cover personal visits to medical professionals, this may not be the case with remote medical or remote video consultations.

Teleconsultation is still relatively new, so some remote services may still not be part of the coverage given by health insurance companies.

Before choosing between face-to-face visits and virtual care, it is best if you will inquire with the company handling your health plans if telehealth is covered under your health insurance.

Which is Better? In Person Visits, Behavioral Health Visits, or Telehealth Services?

Telehealth services or telemedicine services paved the way for the rise of behavioral health visits and remote medical consultations. They do not devalue personal visits. But rather, they provide people with safer and more convenient options.

The routine medical practices involve face-to-face visits to avail of in person care. We have been used to going to medical specialists or medical professionals for personal visits.

Doctor office visits feel more personal since it means seeing, talking, and getting checked by a doctor in person.

Dr. Joseph Kvedar, a teacher at Harvard Medical School and a practicing dermatologist, said that more and more people had realized the usefulness of telehealth services despite their initial doubts.

It’s hard to choose which is better because the goal remains the same, whether it is an in-person visit or a virtual visit. They both help people improve and monitor patients vitals remotely or in person.

Both techniques help the patients and the industry in general.

Personal Visits or Virtual Consultations?

There are many factors to consider in weighing which is better between virtual care and in person visits. Here are only some:

  • Proximity

Suppose you live a few steps or a short drive away from a nursing agency Singapore or any facility that provides health services. In that case, you may settle on in person visits to hear from the doctor personally regarding your health status.

However, people living in rural areas may choose to do a video or telephone call instead of going to the clinic personally. But you can only do this in an instance when your health concern does not require emergency treatment.

  • Friendship with your doctor

Many doctors will go out of their way to look after and ensure the health of their patients. You may find medical professionals willing to recommend home nursing services and visit and check you up from time to time.

  • Not all cases can be handled through virtual consultations

While telehealth is convenient for geriatric or disabled patients and those without an emergency health concern, you must meet your doctor in person when experiencing severe chest pain, drug overdose, or unmanageable flu like symptoms.

Final words

Both in-person visits and telehealth have their pros and cons. For those living in rural areas or places far from medical facilities, choose to go virtual but ensure that you tell everything to the medical professional virtually attending to your concerns.

If you have senior citizens at home or patients with serious health risks, it will help to get the services of elderly caregiver Singapore. This way, a trained person can attend to the patient’s needs wherever, whenever.

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