Online doctor consultation is becoming popular day by day as certain types of visits may be more amenable through online consultations. Visits that don’t require detailed physical exams or in-office diagnostic testing are optimal for online doctor consultation. This includes behavioral health, follow-up visits for many chronic medical conditions and new patient visits where a detailed clinical history can provide sufficient information to offer an informed diagnosis and treatment plan.
Follow-up visits: Primary care where the healthcare provider is following up a previous visit or checking in with the patient to determine whether more direct care is necessary. If medications are needed, the prescriber may be able to send a prescription directly to your pharmacy.
Counseling: Services that require counseling and education, such as prenatal care and diabetes management.
Medication management: A routine check-in is often necessary for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure that require prescription medication.
Behavioral health services: Mental health services and counseling usually don’t require hands-on care from the provider, making these services especially well-suited to remote delivery.
Things to keep in mind before online consultation
- While some insurance companies have been widely covering online doctor consultation, others aren’t quite there yet. So make sure that your health insurance covers the virtual doctor’s appointment before the appointment.
- Make sure that you have internet access and certain technology available at that time well before the virtual appointment. For a video call, you should be able to use a computer, tablet, or a smartphone.
- If you are seeking medical care for a new illness or infection, be prepared to discuss the timeline of your symptoms, your medical history as well as any medications you have already tried.
- If your virtual appointment is part of a routine visit, like checking in with a specialist you see every few months, your doctor might have you take some of your vital signs at home, like your temperature, blood pressure, or weight and discuss that information during your appointment. This would require you to have access to devices like a thermometer or blood pressure measuring device. If you don’t have access to these, you can discuss other options with your doctor.
- Identifying the most important concerns you’d like to address before getting on the phone or video chat with your doctor can help you get the most out of the experience. Try to speak clearly, make eye contact, and keep your questions and concerns direct and straightforward.