Health assessments from online doctors

by Jun 1, 2018Health, Resources

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Using an online doctor is the way forward for dealing with your health problems.
Advances in AI and communications now make it easier to obtain
a fast and accurate health assessment and maintain the fitness of your mind and your body.

Your mind and body are your most valuable resources. If you don’t take care of them you deny others the full benefit of your company and wisdom and you may become a burden. Furthermore, you are less able to do your best work and make the world a better place.

Unfortunately there are many obstacles to dealing with health issues.

Take the example of my friend Alice who fell over a rabbit hole walking the dog and badly damaged her leg last April. At first she assumed it was simply a sprain. She did not want to be a burden on the NHS and delayed seeing a doctor for a few days when she felt no improvement. It took three more consultations and a scan before, six weeks later, the injury was diagnosed as a torn Achilles tendon.

She had elective surgery in July, relinquished her crutches in November and finally recovered full use of her leg this spring. Why couldn’t this have been sorted out faster?

Accepting your frailty is the necessary first step

Alice’s story perfectly illustrates what we are up against when treating any illness or injury. In the first place you may have difficulty accepting something was wrong.

  • Alice, for instance, felt guilty about being a burden on an overstretched NHS.
  • Uncertainty about the seriousness of the injury and ignorance did not help either.
  • You may be afraid of the consequences and prefer to deny a medical condition than face the possibility of something serious or even life threatening.
  • Health takes time, which may be in short supply in a busy family and work world.
  • Your ego may play its part if you think that admitting illness is a sign of weakness
  • Some parts of the body and some conditions give rise to shame. You simply don’t want to talk about them.

Fast and accurate diagnosis

Once you have accepted something needs to happen your next step is to get the condition diagnosed quickly and correctly. Once again, the obstacles to this are plentiful.

  • Finding the time to get to your health centre is not always easy
  • A visit to the doctor or hospital could have financial consequences in terms of lost earnings, travel costs and other expenses
  • Some doctors are natural diagnosticians but others, unfortunately, are not, as Alice discovered. Time, financial and target pressures may also lead to an incorrect diagnosis.
  • You may find it difficult to describe an indeterminate pain in your body and may even end up at a loss for words – literally.

Why an online doctor will help

So how do you get the correct and timely treatment for a potentially damaging health condition.

First of all, develop a positive mindset to overcome the psychological obstacles to obtaining help. Return to those fundamental questions about yourself. Remind yourself of your purpose and aspirations. Cultivate self-awareness and self-understanding.

Make use of new technology. Organisations such as Ada, Babylon and have all launched a smartphone online doctor. They use AI and chatbots to carry out an initial on-the-spot assessment and provide some guidance. This is the advent of on-demand, personalised healthcare and is a part of the significant transformation taking place in life sciences.

The technology is new and not without its weaknesses. However it is a start and there seems to be little downside and considerable benefits to using an online doctor.

Demand and technology drive disruption in healthcare

What is clear is that life science and the provision of healthcare is on the verge of significant disruption. Anything that helps relieve the strain on a hard pressed public health service, leaves professionals to focus on where they are most needed and makes it easier for families to take control of their own healthcare has to be welcomed, especially if it helps you sleep at night and live a meaningful life by day.

So take advantage of what’s out there already and keep an eye out for future developments.

We look at this topic in much more detail in our extended Members post and include more details and an assessment of on line doctor apps and other sources of information. And in future articles we will look more closely at health maintenance, illness prevention and advances in medical cures.

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This is an abridged version of the Living Money members monthly topic.
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