Internet medicine: trends and development prospects
Fifty years ago, medical recommendations were considered ‘intellectual property’ of a physician and a patient did not have the right to question the diagnosis. Today the situation has changed fundamentally. With the development of Internet technologies, people have an opportunity to communicate with doctors and obtain the required information without leaving their homes. Thanks to the Internet medicine, people can choose methods of treatment and a consulting physician on their own. However, the responsibility for consequences of such a choice also falls on the patient.
What is Internet medicine and why is it needed?
Internet medicine represents counseling services, search for and exchange of medical information through electronic communication channels. In the broad sense, it is a new healthcare format, where all participants are found in a single virtual system and can quickly interact with each other on any health-related issue.
Today, clinics of many countries of the world offer customers remote medical assistance. Such kind of service is convenient for both doctors and patients, as it implies the absence of exhausting queues, the reduction of reception hours. Moreover, a patient can open the medical card at any time, find out the results of clinical trials quickly, or receive recommendations from the physician over the Internet.
Web medicine is intended not only to improve the interaction between a doctor and a patient but also to provide various standpoints of specialists and establish professional contacts between medical staff.
Search queries connected with health are most frequently made by young people. Internet medicine helps to:
- eliminate the barrier in real-life communication with the doctor;
- solve health issues in the shortest term;
- find information about the disease on specialized websites.
Ways of exchanging information: medical portals, forums, online consultations
Unfortunately, the majority of neighborhood doctors in state clinics cannot satisfy the needs of people in health issues. Who has not faced the shortcomings in the national healthcare system? The low level of financing and lack of aspiration for development among specialists does not help to solve health problems, and sometimes even exacerbates them.
Internet medicine supposes that patients will start to apply for help remotely. This kind of counselling is still developing now. It is mainly available in private clinics, where doctors receive patients in departments as well as online.
In good medical centers, physicians always keep in touch with patients after their visits. They give patients business cards stating the channels for further communication. A patient does not feel himself left alone with the disease and can turn to the doctor to receive a consultation when required.
Medical websites are another source of medical information. It is hard to call it optimal, as you cannot know who publishes data. On the websites, independent experts and physicians (in the best-case scenario) publish their articles on specific illnesses. Some portals work solely to obtain traffic and advertise definite medical facilities, so one should carefully treat all the information available there. The same relates to medical forums, where different health issues and qualification of physicians are discussed.
One can learn more about the medicine and new technologies at industry-specific conferences. One of them is the Internet of Things 2018, which will take place in Moscow on September 25. Such events are considered a firsthand source of information, as they bring together leading experts of various healthcare areas.
Themed articles can be sometimes found in the Medicine sections of online stores that sell medical equipment, and where specialists are engaged to support a decent level of the resource and to attract customers.
Of course, before entrusting a remotely working clinic or physician with your case record, you should carry out a small research: find information about the experience and category of the physician, whether the clinic has a physical address. The Internet and medicine cannot always solve the patient’s health problems. Sometimes you should better talk to a physician face to face. Everything depends on the complexity of the disease, the patient’s queries, and qualification of the doctor.