With most of the people in Australia under lockdown or under strict social distancing orders, even a year and a half into the pandemic, most of us have understandably become hesitant to sit in a doctor’s waiting room. When it comes to non-life-threatening conditions that do not require the patient and doctor to be face-to-face for diagnosis and treatment, many people are now choosing to consult with online doctors.

From having video consultations to live chats with a doctor, there are countless ways to access medical help without exposing yourself to the Delta variant. If you have any general health questions or concerns around a chronic health condition, sexual health, gastrointestinal issues or even need help to cope with allergies, a simple live chat may be able to help.

The rise of telehealth
While telehealth services have been around for quite a few years, they have seen a meteoric rise in popularity since the COVID-19 pandemic. With the Australian government investing around $1.1 billion into the industry in March of 2020 and $114 million to extend it until the end of 2021, the importance of having access to an online doctor is now widely understood.

Not only do telehealth services provide vulnerable Australians a way to continue to see their GPs, get prescriptions renewed and seek mental health support in these times of uncertainty, it also reduces the load on the healthcare system. When people are not heading into the GP’s clinic when they feel sick and need a medical certificate, they are not exposing themselves and potentially others to the virus they may have. This also leaves doctors more time to deal with more serious cases.

But even before the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth services were highly popular among people in remote and rural areas. When people do not have ready access to good healthcare and highly experienced doctors, their quality of life decreases and they are more likely to die of avoidable causes. Through video consultations and live chats with doctors, people from all over Australia can get help for their conditions.

How to get started
If you haven’t tried out an online doctor service and are wondering how to go about it, it’s fairly simple! All you need is a good internet connection, a device with audio and video capabilities, such as a smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer, and the app for the service provider you have chosen.

Make an account (or log in if you already have one). When signing up for the service, you may be asked a few basic questions regarding your personal information and your medical history. These are kept completely private and confidential and can only be viewed by you and the doctor you are consulting with. Most telehealth service providers are HIPAA compliant, which means that they are legally bound to protect your medical information and could be suspended or sanctioned if they fail to do so.

Next, select the type of service you need. Online telehealth services may be used to get a medical certificate for you or a loved one to take sick or carer’s leave, and may also be used to get a repeat prescription. Other services they provide are specialist referrals, video consultations, live chats with a doctor or even a mental health referral.

Once you’ve selected the service you need, fill in a short questionnaire detailing why you need the service, book a consultation day and time of your choice, pay a small fee and a suitable doctor will contact you on the day and time of your consultation. It’s as easy as that! No more sitting around a waiting room, waiting to be seen. No more going to work when sick because getting a medical certificate is too inconvenient. No more time spent travelling to and from the doctor’s clinic. And most importantly, no more exposing you or your loved ones to the coronavirus!

Doctors benefit too
By being able to see their patients online instead of in person, doctors may also be able to protect themselves and their loved ones from exposure to COVID. It can also be less time-consuming and save valuable time that could be better spent on patients that may need more urgent help.

Exceptional convenience
Many single parents skip seeing a doctor when they need it because they are unable to take time off work, or do not have anyone to watch the kids after work. Other people may live in remote or rural areas without access to good doctors. Many others may be immunocompromised and simply do not wish to expose themselves to the virus by sitting in close quarters in a doctor’s waiting room. In all of these situations, the convenience of being able to speak with a doctor in the comfort of their own home becomes incomparable.

If you too are in one of these situations, or simply do not wish to risk exposure to the virus, have a quick live chat with a doctor through a telehealth provider today!

Author's Bio: 

I have zeal to pen down my thoughts when it comes to writing. When not working, either I am glued to my playlist, Netflix, books or you can find me splurging on myself.