A good healthcare service is essential for keeping you and your family safe and healthy. While in the UK we are lucky enough to have the free National Health Service, the quality of care is unfortunately inconsistent after being starved of funding for years. Struggling to get an appointment with your registered GP? Having to wait too long for a routine operation? You’re not alone.
Private healthcare programmes are becoming more popular, as they tend to offer lower waiting times and a high level of care. But the face of healthcare is also changing in a different way – thanks to smartphones. Apps have already transformed the way we shop, bank and communicate, and now they are helping the general public enjoy a more convenient and efficient health service.
When talking of ‘online doctors’ some people are apprehensive, and rightly so. After all, the internet is home to scams as well as wonderful ideas. But when set up in the right way, such as at Babylon Health, a real doctor available online can offer a whole new world of advantages.
With common and reoccurring illnesses or problems, patients often know that they just need medication – for example, a course of antibiotics. In many cases, a physical examination isn’t really necessary, and patients can be forced to wait days to see a doctor when they only need two minutes of their time. When you book to see a virtual doctor, you can quickly discuss your symptoms and a prescription can be ordered.
Out of Hours Healthcare
Busy people such as working parents can often struggle to find the time to see a doctor. Thanks to online appointments with medical professionals through an app, patients can book to see a GP at a time convenient to them.
If more people were to sign up with virtual health services, it would reduce the pressure on the overburdened NHS, and in particular the doctors’ surgeries with too many patients. Using the innovative app, patients can check symptoms and ask doctors questions prior to appointments – which is often all people need to do. This frees up time for online doctors, and with more patients trusting the virtual healthcare, there should be more appointments in surgeries for those most in need.
Less Mobile Patients
This way of communicating and treating patients is extremely beneficial for those who are less mobile. Patients who are bedbound, elderly or find it difficult to get to a surgery (for example those in rural areas who cannot drive) can now speak to a GP in the comfort of their own homes.
With so many advantages to virtual doctors, it seems there is definitely a place for them in 21st century healthcare. They can work alongside the NHS and with private patients to complement regular care.