How to Tackle the Online Diagnosis Trend

How to Tackle the Online Diagnosis Trend

Online diagnosis and health sites have cropped up and are soaring in popularity. They are convenient – diagnosis can be done at home – cost very little or nothing at all, and are confidential. In an age when many patients have suffered wrong diagnosis from physicians it isn’t hard to see why people rush to these health sites on the Internet with the hope of getting a clear picture of what they are going through.

Major Disadvantages of Online Diagnoses

There are significant disadvantages associated with this. There are many health sites out there, but not all are reliable. Many are even false. This can be very dangerous as patients are choosing to treat themselves in lieu of making an appointment with their medical provider. There isn’t much regulation governing the functioning of these sites and the diagnoses and treatments they advise. The accreditation they profess to have could even be false. In such circumstances, the advice these sites give could even be life-threatening. Secondly, no amount of diagnoses from genuine health sites can ever replace a physical consultation. They only provide you with a faintly accurate picture of your malady but never the full picture.    

They Can Help in the Treatment Process

These sites can however play a part in effective treatment. It has worked for many, and the suggestions provided could actually help doctors think outside the box and test the patient for conditions they wouldn’t have thought of or associated with the existing symptoms.

Issues for Physicians and Healthcare Practices

The trouble for physicians is that these online diagnoses create mistrust among the patients of real world doctors. Patients may come equipped with various notions in their mind about what they are going through and expect physicians to treat from that angle. When physicians move about in their tried and tested pattern, contrary to what the patients expect, it could cause disgruntlement and in some cases make the patients stop visiting the healthcare facility. It could make life very difficult for physicians and healthcare providers. The growth of online health sites could decrease revenues for many healthcare centers and individual practices. 

What Doctors Can Do

Doctors and healthcare practices can prevent this trend by making themselves more accessible to patients. They can improve the patient experience at the healthcare facility which would make people want to visit the practice. They wouldn’t mind physically visiting the doctor rather than sitting at home and feeding on their online diagnosis.

The Medicare Issue

Doctors’ opting out of Medicare is a heavy blow to elderly patients. Many Medicare beneficiaries all over the nation are struggling to find doctors who would accept them. The situation is more or less grim with Medicaid too. Physicians are blaming excessive rules and low reimbursements for this trend. The fear now is whether doctors will be around for the people to really benefit from President Obama’s healthcare reform which will be, put into action in 2014.

Doctors and healthcare practices outsourcing their medical billing and coding services and medical claims submission processes to reliable medical outsourcing companies could keep themselves from opting out of Medicare. They need not fear the regulations that need to be followed. They can expect to get the right payment for the potentially life saving care they offer. It would also keep the patients from depending on unreliable medical information from these online health sites.         

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