"Live chat with a doctor": Improving access to quality healthcare

Posted by Anirdha on Tue, Jun 30, 2009  
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It is not surprising that the consumer who has grown accustomed to using the internet to address his fundamental needs — be it employment, marriage, travel, or communication, goes online for his health needs as well and expects the magical World Wide Web to provide solutions.

In what ways can we guide these patients? The initial response to this question was the mushrooming of websites providing medical information. Websites were created for diseases, drugs, treatment options, and also for sharing patient experiences.

While this online information has gone a long way in making the user more aware, the plethora of it, along with the contradictory facts from different sources also leave users perplexed.

There is a growing realization that there is scope to go beyond putting more and more information in the “public domain”. There is a possibility of providing the patient with personalized online medical information, coming from a physician, and answering exactly what the patient needs to know.

This can potentially save the patient hours of browsing and anxiety about the seriousness of his condition. This way your online physician becomes your first point of contact from where you will be referred only if needed and where needed. This concept has led to the advent of new websites that put the patient and the doctor together in a virtual consultation room.

Healthcaremagic.com is one such initiative that has enabled virtual consultation with a doctor.

We are going through a period of phenomenal change in the online health-seeker’s needs and expectations as well as the technological solutions available to fulfill them. In the long term, we will be able to see the right mix of online applications and consumer behavior that utilizes the full potential of the internet in the healthcare domain.


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