If you have found yourself looking up websites for dermatologists during this pandemic, this thought may have crossed your mind, “Is a virtual visit as good as a face-to-face consultation?”

Due to the threat posed by COVID-19, it is recommended to pursue online medical consults for non-emergent concerns. When you think about it, visits to the doctor mostly entail verbal communication for your health matter. For actual life-threatening situations that will require hands-on medical assistance, you might as well rush to the nearest emergency room.  

But when is it okay to go through with a simple video call with your physician, and when is it better to brave the trip to the hospital?

According to Study

At the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a team studied the efficacy of virtual medical consults. They concluded that patients can safely lean on this option without lowering the quality of services they experience. In fact, respondents “perceived the quality of care or communication to be the same or better than at the traditional and familiar office visits.”

Furthermore, both clinicians and patients who took part in the study agreed on the convenience of the online method. 79 percent of patients appreciated how much easier it was to schedule a virtual visit compared to the traditional face-to-face consult. And 59 percent of healthcare workers noted that there was not much difference between the two modes of contact.

Limitations of an Online Consult

While we are in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic, virtual visits will definitely be the more attractive way to speak to our doctors. And the great thing about it is it is possible to get back to top health without having to personally see your physician.

However, virtual visits do have their limitations. That’s why when the situation gets back to normal, it will still be better to talk to your doctor face-to-face.

For instance, while you may be able to describe your health concern in as much detail as you can, sometimes, doctors need to perform basic checkups. They might want to listen to your heart or your lungs. When you have a wound or a skin condition, even if you are able to find the best-lit area in your house for the video call, your doctor might need to see it up close to get the best diagnosis.

More importantly, a doctor you see through an online consultation cannot give you a prescription for controlled medication nor provide you with an order for a needed lab test.

Case-to-Case Basis

When it comes to deciding if a virtual visit is the best option, the choice really lies with you. You might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many are the confirmed coronavirus infections in my community and what is the latest advice from authorities on travel?
  2. Is there a medical professional I can call for triage? (In case you are unable to determine the urgency of your health concern.)

In this atmosphere, it’s easy to turn to the internet to self-diagnose or self-medicate, but at no time is this recommended. Remember, getting in touch with your doctor is always the best way to maintain your good health.