Since the arrival of the internet, apart from searching for rude words, looking up old friends and chatting online, the next most thing searched for is symptoms. The minute I get something painful, a funny symptom or set of symptoms, I’m there checking. I always think I have some sort of terrible disease or cancer. It comes with being a health professional. It’s so tempting, it’s anonymous and no one is going to judge you for asking. Now, with predicitve searches, Google often finishes your search off for you, and you instantly know other people have done exactly the same as you, which is reassuring already. I’m not alone, with 81% of people having searched for their symptoms online. The question I’m asking today is would you use an online Doctor?
I’ve turned to the internet many times, and also been afraid of searching. When my daughter Amy had symptoms I didn’t understand, I searched, but I chose to only look at the answers that could provide hope. After we knew there was something wrong, I almost didn’t want to know.
Once I had healthy children, I was understandably a little paranoid when it came to looking up their symptoms as well as my own. I remember when they got Hand Foot and Mouth, I’d never heard of it before until I looked up their symptoms online. I was horrified at the thought, it wasn’t long after the outbreak of bovine foot and mouth and I thought she had something terrible. I made an appointment with the doctor and said what I thought my daughter had, and they put us in a special side room away from the other people – I felt like a leper, and one with mad cow disease at that. When we saw the doctor, I told her my suspicions and she just confirmed it, no treatment necessary. It turned out it’s not such a bad illness to have and fast forward to last year when Daniel got it, they didn’t even exclude him from nursery (probably where he got it from). If I’d had access to an online Doctor, like the one at onlinedoctor.lloydspharmacy.com, I probably could have saved myself the trip.
How do online Doctors work?
To use the service from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor, you need to fill in a short medical assessment form. You can order some tests without filling in a form, such as STI kits. There are also free assessments. Depending on the ailment, you can also upload photos, for example with a skin condition. If it’s during office hours, the online Doctor will aim to assess it and get back to you within the hour. If it’s after 6pm you’ll get a response the next morning, with weekends taking a couple of hours. Occasionally they may need further information. It’s perfect for minor ailments and skin conditions, plus those embarrassing questions you may not want to deal with face to face.
I think the fact that these Doctors are attached to a respected national pharmacy helps, I’d be more likely to use them than some unknown Doctor that I couldn’t see the credentials for.
Some examples of what you can use the online Doctors for
Popular reasons and services the LloydsPharmacy team of Online Doctors offer are:
Contraceptive or Morning after Pill
When I was younger I know I would have really appreciated being able to get and STI check or the morning after pill online through a trusted source, without having to go to a clinic or a Doctor, which puts so many young people off, leaving them at risk of an unwanted pregnancy or further complications. I think men too, would be more inclined to ask a professional online, although women top the poll at 89% who search for symptoms, compared to 77% of men.
I’ve bookmarked the site so I can go straight there next time I need to check something, rather than waiting for an appointment at the GP, the process for getting an appointment is a nightmare now. Of course, if you’re in need of urgent treatment or you’re concerned, you must see your GP or Accident and Emergency department, but if you got an answer within the hour, it could save you time.
Disclosure: This is a collaborative post, all opinions are my own. Statistics quoted from a survey conducted by LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.
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