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Are Virtual Doctors Better Than the Real Thing?

We already know that virtual reality tech provides endless applications for entertainment and gaming. But will advances in VR technology affect our day-to-day lives? Based on recent developments, it looks like the way we interact with our healthcare providers is quickly changing.

The digital revolution has changed our lives in many ways. One more recent innovation is the digital doctor’s office—a method for getting an evaluation without having to travel to a physical location. That sounds like a great deal, especially for those with disabilities. But is it really as good as going to see the doctor in person? Here’s a look at whether or not virtual doctors are as good as the real thing.

Convenience is King in Telemedicine

The biggest attraction to sessions with virtual doctors is that it’s more convenient for the patient. For those with physical disabilities or who may have difficulty leaving their homes due to mental illness, telemedicine provides the perfect solution. It enables them to maintain appointments and receive medical evaluations without having to leave their homes. Often, just getting to the office is a challenge, especially where a disability makes it troubling to use most forms of public transportation.

In addition, there’s more choice. Many people living in rural areas don’t have access to the specialists they need to consult. This may mean expensive and tedious travel just to spend 10 minutes with a specialist. However, there are already 2,500 caregivers operating out of 200 different locations, who participate in virtual doctor programs. This means many individuals can receive evaluations and obtain important prescriptions more easily.

Video Conferencing May Increase the Level of Treatment

One great benefit that patients are already boasting about is that video conferencing ensures that they get the doctor’s full attention. During introductions, the doctor will likely show his degrees to set the patient at ease and will have to engage in face-to-face discussions. This helps the patient feel as though the doctor is paying closer attention, and many patients report feeling that they received more engagement in their virtual doctor sessions.

Virtual Rehab Programs Provide 24-Hour Support

While virtual rehab programs haven’t been tried alone, when used as part of a comprehensive recovery process, they have proven effective. By keeping recovering addicts connected with helpful resources, the probability of long-term sobriety is maximized. This is because problems associated with addiction, such as being confronted with an unexpected trigger, can happen any time of the day or night. Now, helpful resources can also be accessed 24 hours a day.

Therapy Sessions in the Digital World

One tool being used is bringing cognitive behavioral therapy into the digital world. Computerizing this treatment enables patients to engage in therapy as needed—helping them turn negative or self-destructive thoughts into positive ones. This is especially helpful for patients living in rural areas, where they may not be able to reach out to a therapist in person.

The Takeaway

Virtual treatments for medical conditions and substance abuse problems are revolutionizing healthcare. It’s bringing treatment to many who may not have previously had access to caregivers and helping homebound individuals continue ongoing treatment needs.

While some may fear that computerized communication takes away the humanity and personal touch from these encounters, patients trying it for the first time are finding that just the opposite is true. Virtual doctor’s visits may be bringing back the traditional house call.

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