The latest trend emerging among the urban population is the use of online medical consultation facilities. Online medical consultation can be described as the use of the internet for seeking medical advice. With the technological advancement everyday and internet at our fingertips, the use of the internet for medical consultation cannot be left behind. It all started in 1996, by the conceptualisation of WebMD. Now there are a host of online medical consultation facilities in India like eVaidya, Doctor on call, icliniq.com, medindia.net, Medanta.org, etc.
These online medical portals offer a lot of benefits to the patients, so their importance is rising day by day. In this write up the evolution of online medical facilities will be discussed in detail.
WebMd was founded on June 14, 1996, in New York City by Jeffrey T. Arnold. It was primarily American corporation imparting information regarding human health and well-being. Currently, it has around 1800 people on its payroll. Now, it has become one of the leading healthcare websites in the United States.
- Coining of the Term Online doctor
Online doctor is a term coined in 2000 by the media and academics to suggest a doctor who can deliver healthcare advice over the internet. In early 2000, many people started to use the internet as the primary source of information and communication. This led to the foundation of Online Doctors. Now, with the advent of broadband and video conferencing facility, many patients turn to online medical consultation facilities to seek medical attention and buy prescription drugs.
- Development of Online Pharmacy
In 2004 it was found that about 4% of the Americans have purchased their medicines online. In 2006, a study conducted in the USA found that searching for prescription online and over the counter drugs were one of the most popular searches registered by search engines. In 2009, it was found that one out of every ten Europeans buys their medicines from online portals. In Germany, around seven million people buy their medicine from the online pharmacy.
- Development of more Online Medical Consultation
After the huge success of WebMd, many other healthcare and medical consulting sites were developed in the USA. As of February 2011, it is estimated that around 86.4 million people visit the WebMD online consulting site every month. NIH.gov, MSN Health, Doctorspring, EverydayHealth, WomensHealth.gov, MaYoClinic are some of the online healthcare and medical consulting sites developed in the USA in the recent years.
In the UK in March 2000, Dr. Julien Eden developed the first online medical consulting site. It was named e-med and it offered online diagnosis and prescriptions to the patients. NHS Choices is another government online medical consulting site offering free medical advice and information to the citizens and visitors in the UK. They offer 24 hours medical consultation through telephone and internet. Recently many more healthcare consultation sites have developed in the UK like Dr. Fox Pharmacy, Push Doctor, and Lloyds Pharmacy.
In Australia, the government has introduced a new online information and advice service by the name HealthDirect. They offer 24 hours free consultation to the people and tourist of Australia.
- Development of Online Consultation Sites in India
India has also shown much advancement in the development of online healthcare consulting sites. Every day they are serving thousands of people by providing expert guidance through online prescription and diagnosis of diseases. Some of the most eminent online medical consultation sites in India are eVaidya, Doctor on call, icliniq.com, medindia.net, Medanta.org, etc.
These companies provide effective communication between the patient and the doctor. The patient may use different modes of communication like telephone, mobile, email, video conference and chat system. This mode of treatment is more time and cost saving than the conventional mode of treatment by visiting doctor’s clinic. They are best suited for the chronically ill and old patients.
Finally, it can be said that technology has made our life simple and hassle-free all across the spectrum. With time, online medical facilities will become immensely popular among the common people.