Technology is already here and can offer access to online medical consultations. Unfortunately we had to go through the COVID-19 pandemic to accept telemedicine as a viable option to help patients. Now, why should you consider to use an online rheumatologist?
Let me tell you a true patient story.
I met John a few days ago. He is a young 30 years gentleman who developed joint pain over about 6 months. Finally, he decided to call his primary care physician, who ran some tests. One of the ANA tests, an antinuclear antibody, came back positive. Next, his doctor handed him a a referral to rheumatology. The patient started with a google search for a rheumatologist near me.
Then, he started to call the rheumatology practices in his local area.
To his surprise, after two days of calls to about 7 rheumatology practices in a 200 miles radius, he was either refused or offered an appointment in about 6 months.
Desperately, his wife started to search for an online rheumatologist. They found Rheumatologist OnCall, a telemedicine practice that opens the door for patients in need, breaking geographical barriers. After thoroughly researching the doctor’s medical background, they decided to try it. In two days, the patient was seen and had a clear medical plan.
Why should you search for an online rheumatologist?
As a traditional local clinic rheumatologist, I witnessed how patients wait for 4-6 months.
I have seen patients traveling for tens or hundreds of miles to see me.
I often thought that offering online consultations could open the door to seeing more patients and be more convenient for them.
Traveling, arranging care for your kids, and taking time from work are limitations for many patients.
Not to add the additional cost of gas, paying someone to help with your kids, and cutting your work time.
Limitations imposed on physicians
Moreover, rheumatology specialists have other limitations in seeing patients. From licensing difficulties, signing non-compete with their clinics, and signing contracts with insurance companies, to name a few.
Obtaining a medical license is a tedious and expensive process. As a physician, you can’t practice across the state’s borders without a license in the state where the patient is located.
Maintaining the license is also tricky since there are many requirements that you need to meet to have the license renewed every one to two years.
Being hired by a hospital system, you will be forced to see the patients in that medical system network and can hardly accept outside referrals. Signing contracts with insurance companies will limit your practice to seeing panels from these panels.
This is the time to adopt online rheumatology
Technology is here to help us.
We are all comfortable doing online shopping, banking, entertainment, online business, getting legal advice, or finding our way home using google maps.
In an era where technology is at our fingertips, I wondered why patients couldn’t access their doctor using a phone, laptop, or desktop?
Why not get medical advice and evaluation from the comfort of their home?
Break the mental barrier!
Telemedicine or virtual consultations are not new but have been more accepted after the 2020 COVID- 19 pandemic.
Finally, more and more patients were convinced that online consultations are a viable way to see a physician and ask for medical help.
Online rheumatology advantages
Online rheumatology consultation offers the advantage of getting the specialist evaluation and treatment when you need it the most, without the hassle of traveling, spending extra time in the waiting room, and exposing yourself to potentially sick people around you.
Delaying medical care, primarily when dealing with an autoimmune disease, can result in many complications.
Let’s say the patient I mentioned above has a diagnosis of lupus. His complications can be devastating and potentially fatal in six months without proper medical management and treatment. Complications like renal failure from systemic lupus can lead to dialysis or even a kidney transplant. That will translate into very poor life quality for the patient and outrageous medical expenses.
Online rheumatologist breaks the geographical barriers.
There is an actual national shortage of specialists, especially in rheumatology, and getting access timely will become more difficult for many patients. Rheumatologist OnCall was born to broaden access to a specialist from the comfort of your home, with no travel, wasted time, and waiting rooms.
Many rheumatologist physicians are based on the west or east coast. Most physicians have a medical license to practice only in their state.
Most rheumatologists are hired by hospitals that don’t accept out-of-network referrals or don’t contract with your insurance company. The average waiting time to be seen is six months. The time that you spend with the physician is 7-15 minutes. Then follow-ups are in 3- 4 months.
Rheumatologist OnCall broadens access to a specialty in high demand.
As an online rheumatologist or virtual doctor, I offer online consultations.
The appointments are 60 minutes, all time spent with the patient.
The average waiting time for patients is about one week.
The communications with patients are direct via text/ email/ phone.
The patient is involved in the decision of ordering tests or prioritizing the tests that are needed.
The consultation costs and laboratory and imaging services are affordable and transparent.
Patients can choose to pay cash or use their insurance for investigations and treatments.
Direct specialty care is here to offer patients an alternative. It is here to empower patients to choose what is best for them when they need medical care.