Online Self-Diagnosis Now Becoming a Norm Among Adults: Survey
From social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter etc. to a myriad of information-based portals, the Internet has now branded itself as the go-to repository for information and knowledge seekers alike. No other domain exemplifies this phenomenon better than healthcare. With the presence of a plethora of online medical journals, websites and other related services, the surge in online medical trends has been astronomical.
To bring home the point of prevalence of online environment in healthcare, College of Health Professions recently conducted a mass survey on and the results have been astonishing. As per the released figures, more than fifty-nine percent of American adults preferred to self-diagnose using online tools such as WebMD, while keeping physician consultations as a second option. Of the respondents, only twelve percent stated their preference for an actual physician than online research for symptoms.
According to Doris Savron, executive dean for the College of Health Professions, “The healthcare industry is shifting to a patient-centered model that harnesses technology to both open communication channels and create a platform for patient engagement. Given this shift, it is crucial that patients not only have access to these technologies, but also view them as important resources for improving their health and overall care experience.”
To gauge the full spectrum of online vs physician trend, the survey was divided into five categories, namely online health records, online appointment booking, online chat capabilities, text message appointment reminders, and e-prescription refills.
Online Health Records
As online research for symptoms related to a host illnesses have witnessed a steady increase, 37% of the respondents stated accessibility to their online health records. Furthermore, 74% respondents rated the availability of health records on the Internet as ‘very important’
Online Appointment Bookings
With the surge in online medical trends, 59% individuals deemed online appointment bookings to a physician as ‘very important’, while 27% had successfully made use of these services.
While medical journals or articles related to healthcare, diseases, symptoms and treatments have been deemed vital by Internet users for knowledge and references’ sake, yet the concept of online chats for medical care still needs to pick up pace. As per the survey, only 17% of the respondents had access to online chat services while a mere 5% used said services. However, the silver lining in this emerging trend states that online medical chat services have been seen as ‘very important’ by 49% of the survey takers.
Text Message Appointments
The very first element of mobile age, Text Messages, has still not lost their charm or importance. As per the survey, 35% users have access to text message appointment services, wherein text message reminders are sent to their cellphones for medical appointments. 28% respondents continue to use such services, while 64% have given these services a rating of ‘very important’.
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