How to get better medical care with digital health

By Citro partner Instant Consult

From streaming to food delivery, we like having services at our fingertips.

Healthcare is no exception, and the emergence of telehealth, 24-hour phone lines and other new health services like those available in pharmacies are changing the way we seek medical advice .

Citro explores the many reasons why quick access to doctors and healthcare is a game-changer, and how to get the most out of it.

No more endless waiting in a surgery

Convenience is a precious commodity.

Anyone who has been stuck sitting in a doctor’s surgery for hours understands the pain of being bored and ignored with only dusty old National Geographic magazines for company.

Quick access to doctors is revolutionising the medical landscape, offering a myriad of benefits that not only save time but can enhance patient outcomes.

In this article, we explore why the rise of digital health services such as telehealth are transforming the way we approach medical advice and treatment

COVID-19 changed our healthcare habits

COVID-19 changed more than just the amount of hand sanitiser we used - it transformed the way health care works.

When the pandemic hit, governments turned to technology to reduce the spread of COVID-19, save lives and ensure access to medical care, prescriptions, testing clinics and vaccinations.

This accelerated the trend towards digital health services which include everything from basic online symptom checkers to prevent people clogging up emergency waiting rooms, along with a raft of tech-focussed healthcare services like:

  • Healthdirect 24-hour phone line, to get free health-related non-medical advice on a phone call.
  • Electronic prescriptions, so you can store scripts on your phone instead of losing them.
  • Telehealth to consult doctors over the telephone or video calls in place of a hospital or surgery visit.
  • My Health Record to ensure you can opt in to collate your health records in one place.

In our busy lives, every minute counts.

Quick access to doctors and online health services eliminates the need for time-consuming trips to physical clinics, long waiting room times, and lengthy commutes.

You can receive medical advice and prescriptions from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are, saving valuable time and allowing you to focus on other important tasks.

And if you’re contemplating a trip to the emergency room, but dreading a long wait, many states now publish their emergency room wait times to save you the hassle, including:

Image source: Getty

Banish the worries

One of the primary advantages of quick access to doctors is the immediate relief it brings to patient anxiety.

Whether you're experiencing a sudden health concern or have pressing questions about your symptoms, being able to connect with a healthcare professional promptly puts your mind at ease.

The ability to obtain quick medical advice provides reassurance and empowers patients to take timely action, potentially preventing the escalation of minor health issues.

Great for rural and remote areas

It's no secret that rural and remote areas of Australia suffer with poorer medical outcomes than city areas.

In the past, access to specialist medical advice often meant traveling long distances or waiting months to secure an appointment.

Quick access to doctors on demand brings a wealth of medical expertise to your fingertips, regardless of your geographical location.

Whether you live in a rural area or a bustling city, technology bridges the gap, allowing you to consult with top-tier specialists from across the globe.

How to drive your own healthcare journey

With the convenience of quick consultations, no-one needs to put things off until they have time.

People who seek medical advice promptly are more likely to detect any health issues early and better manage chronic conditions like asthma, arthritis or allergies.

Heightened patient engagement fosters a healthier and more proactive approach to well-being.

The traditional healthcare system often requires juggling multiple responsibilities, including taking time off work or rearranging schedules to accommodate doctor visits.

The ability to connect with doctors at your preferred time over Telehealth makes it easier to maintain a work-life balance while still prioritising your health.

“Investing in quick access to telehealth consults is like prioritising a timely response to the whispers of your body, rather than enduring the loud cries of discomfort,” says GP Dr Fiona McKinnon MBBS, DRANZCOG Advanced, FRACGP.

“Your health is invaluable, and by paying for instant telehealth access, you're nurturing a proactive partnership with your wellbeing, where answers are just a click away, and waiting becomes a relic of the past.”

Virtual consultations make telehealth a breeze

Quick and fast telehealth access to doctors is literally a game-changer in healthcare.

Telehealth appointments save time, travel expenses, and the convenience of an appointment at your preferred schedule.

Australia offered Medicare benefits for telehealth appointments for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic, but today it can be more difficult to secure a bulk-billed telehealth appointment.

That’s where fee-for-service medical care - which doesn’t cost the taxpayer anything - have stepped up to fill a gap.

There are already a wide range of these types of services available in some pharmacies - for example, you can now ‘buy’ a medical certificate to qualify for paid sick leave when you pop in to the chemist to buy your cold and flu medication.

There are also private fee-for-service clinics, where you can pay a fee that is not bulk-billed through Medicare, just to see a doctor quickly and get the script, referral or medical advice you need.

Quick access to doctors through video or telephone calls not only saves time and resources but also empowers patients to actively participate in their wellbeing, leading to improved health outcomes and a more patient-centric healthcare experience.

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