Brief overview of video consultation
In the early 2000s, the media and academics used an online doctor to describe physicians and other health professionals who could deliver health care services over the Internet. To make the exercise and whole process enjoyable and fruitful, the health practitioners took substantial advantage to develop an online platform where they could virtually meet with their clients. The platform provided a real time video call service where they could see each other. In the present day, many medical issues are addressed on virtual platforms such as Skype. A study in 2014 indicated that doctors did orthopedic clinic follow-up over Skype service offered to about 78 patients in a joint arthroplasty.
How virtual consultations works
Without having to leave home, patients are still guaranteed of quality care. A video link is acquired that will redirect the patient to a preferred doctor. The doctor looks, listens, examines and engages the patient to diagnose the health issues and recommend the most efficient health plan.
Over this platform, various conditions can be addressed including cancer, complex orthopedic cases, spine disorders, transplants, congenital heart disorders, joint replacement cases, complex pediatric disorders, certain neurologic disorders, genetic disease and liver disorders. The services are only not recommended for dermatological conditions, chronic pain, psychiatric diagnoses and ophthalmologic conditions since they need close and sufficient attention which might not be guaranteed online.
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Size of virtual video consultation
According to the new analysis, the volume of virtual video meeting is expected to increase by 100% in the US alone by 2020. This is mainly attributed to the expansion of the health insurance coverage. In the US market, the number of virtual consultations will shoot up to about 27 million according to a report by HIS. The information and analytic firm projected that by 2020, the number of meetings would increase by 25% from the 2million in 2015. A single virtual video consultation is priced between $ 38 & $49.
The goals and objectives behind the development of virtual consultations
The development of video meeting systems seeks to address a set of issues that are likely to hinder the efficiency with which health care activities are carried out. The effects include:
- Need to minimize travel: Other places, especially in rural areas, can experience small transport networks. When in need of medical advice, video consultation can be a great option.
- Need to save time: Video meetings save valuable time. By avoiding face-to-face appointments, the time that would have been spent meeting is stored.
- Reduce the spread of infection: The fear of transmission of highly infectious and contagious diseases between the medical personnel and the patients is highly minimized through the use of these remote virtual consultations. This is majorly a threat in cases of Flus and MRSA.
- Encouraging self-care: Video consultations through video links can be associated with the use of digital devices to monitor self-health progress; this ensures that the patients get valuable information and put it to proper use.
According to Wiktionary, teleconsultation refers to healthcare consultations remotely done through an audio-visual telecommunication between a patient and a doctor on a social network video link.
According to the Global Telemedicine Market report for Growth, Trends &Forecasts (2015-2020), The market value of telemedicine is expected to hit the $ 34 billion mark by late 2020. North America is the largest market accounting for over 40% of the overall market size. The main players in the field include Aerotel Medical Systems, IBM, Intouch Technologies, Allscripts Healthcare Solutions, Siemens, ROCHE, Medtronic, and others.
The top ten companies providing teleconsultation services
- Doctor2U: This a new app development from Malaysia in partnership with Microsoft that enables you to give medical care for your loved ones without leaving home. It comes in Android and iPhone compatibles and offers free live chats, doctor house calls and virtual consultations.
- Skype: This is yet another executive social platform with Estonian origin that provides communication services. The app, both in iOS, Android, and Windows versions allow registered users to live chat and make live video calls with their medical care providers.
- Teladoc: Based in Dallas, Texas, Teladoc is a telemedicine firm that gives patients an equal service to a face-to-face doctor visit via video conferencing and telephone. They are providers of remote health care through mobile devices, video and the internet. Patients seeking medical services yet don’t want to make an appointment with a doctor can call Teladoc to book for a virtual visit.
- Ringadoc: At its launching in 2011, Ringadoc offered patients the ability to record a video message before a virtual video consultation with healthcare personnel.
- MDLive: This app provides remote telehealth services including doctor-to-patient visits through digital telecommunication devices. It enables patient-physician communication through email, phone conversations, and video chats.
- LiveHealth: The platform takes advantage of the ever advancing technology such as the Internet to connect patients to doctors. The developers have an app which offers a sign-up and login option for confidentiality and identity. Once one is signed up, he/she can choose a doctor to contact for his/her health issues through a video chat.
- DoctorChat: This is the first medical app developed for physicians by physicians. The platform gives individuals the opportunity to interact with medical personnel from around the globe. Physicians are also enabled to use the platform to discuss cases brought by colleagues in a pool.
- Patientus GmbH: This is a German-based video consultation provider that allows patients to register free of charge. A consultancy fee set by the physicians, patients can subscribe to the virtual health platform for a price starting EUR 29/month.
- iCliniq: This is “ask a doctor online” platform that seeks to ease the interaction between healthcare service seekers and the medical personnel. The platform handles health issues from OB/GYN, Oncology, sexology among others.
- Doctor on demand: Among other companies, doctor upon request offers a virtual platform for telehealth services. The services provided here are designed in such a way that one has immediate access to a physician for medical attention via a video chat.
The future of outlook of teleconsultation
A report from a 2016 survey by the American Well indicated that 57% of the health providers in the US are willing to test video consultation services with their patients.
Video discussion is considered the future of medicine in the world. To fight some of the most life-threatening diseases, doctors located in different geographical locations need to put their minds together without necessarily meeting in a face-to-face manner. Virtual consultation is the way. This will help safeguard the health care providers from contagious diseases and save valuable time and resources.
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