New online doctor consultation companies are popping up like mushrooms in India! When you face a health problem and you cannot find the time to consult a doctor in person, you first think about online doctor consultation. With some popular names on the internet and the billboards across the roads in your city, you can easily become confused about which online doctors to choose!
When it comes to your health, you want the best doctor to give you the right advice and that too at the most affordable price, right?
Here in this article, I will give you some guidelines that you can use to choose the right doctors and get the best possible online doctor consultation for your money. As a doctor myself, I have tried out half a dozen of online doctor consultation providers in India. Some of them were good, others average and most of them were pretty bad.
I have also used these online doctor consultations as a patient too!
Yeah! After all, I am a human being and the kinds of diseases that a doctor can acquire are sometimes interesting. If you are wondering what are some of the common conditions that an online doctor can treat, you will find everything that you need to know in that one article!
Here are some of the points that I have considered while choosing the right online doctor consultation company, both for me and my family’s health.
- The right specialty doctor
- Experience of the doctor
- Qualifications and degrees of the online doctor
- Verification of doctors
- Ease of starting a consultation online
- The best consulting fee
- Security & privacy of your medical data
- Available Consulting hours
- Reviews and feedback from other patients
So, if you want to know about in detail about each of the above-mentioned points scroll down and continue reading 🙂
Choosing the right specialty doctor
The very first thing you ask a new doctor whom you have just met is their name, and then their specialty!
When a student completes his undergraduate degree, he becomes a doctor. He can treat any type of human health conditions. But, when he gets admission into a post-graduate course, for learning in-depth about a certain specialty of medicine or surgery, he again has to study for 3 more years!
After those 3 years, when the new specialist doctor is born, he will see complaints related to that particular specialty only. Are you getting what I’m saying?
It is just like looking at your body through a hollow pipe, only that part that the doctor is looking at will be visible to him.
Just visit a Gynecologist and ask her to read your ECG, and you will understand just what I was mentioning too!
I’m not saying that specializing in one particular field of medicine is the wrong thing to do. It is great! The problem arises when you as a patient don’t know which specialty doctor to consult.
Now some specialty doctors do not want to disappoint their patients just because of the reason that they consulted the wrong specialty doctor. What they do is that they simply prescribe a safe medicine and refer the patient to the right specialty doctor with a letter. Some good doctors, even go to the extent of refunding the consulting fees!
Now, when it comes to online doctor consultation, things are a bit easier. You as an educated patient, someone who knows how to “Google” first figure out the right specialty will doctor all by yourself.
If for some reason, you haven’t, still it’s okay! Why? Because most of the online doctor consultation providers have pages written about choosing the right doctor.
Even if you don’t have time to read all those documents, you can opt for the “Consult a Doctor” feature where you do not have to select the right specialty doctor before starting the consultation. In most such cases, your consultation request is transferred to a “general physician” a type of doctor who can handle it all. You can call him, the “Jack of all Specialties” if you want!
Now some other companies in India boast about an AI engine that redirects your consultation to the right specialty doctor. That simply means, you will be first chatting with robots, then with nurses, or human doctors, then with general physicians and finally when the prescription is generated, it is signed by a doctor whom you have not communicated with so far!
I am not sure how the AI engine works, to be honest!
So, the best practice here is to select the right doctor yourself and then pay for the consultation.
Digiqure also provides a “Online Video Call consultation” Download the DigiQure app from play store , register yourself and explore Doctor do (Video Call)
Experience of the Online Doctor
New doctors take at least 2 years to start learning the art of communicating with patients. They get the experience when they work at small clinics, hospitals or practice alone.
The experience of a doctor plays a crucial part when it comes to the quality of knowledge they acquire. Not everything is taught at medical schools, you know? Doctors have to get a few years of experience under their belts to gain the confidence to start helping patients.
If you visit my profile at DigiQure, you can see that I have 8 years of experience! That number is calculated from the year of passing the undergraduate degree, which is BDS in my case.
Many online doctor consultation companies provide the number of years experiences each of their registered doctors has in the profile pages. But, if you want to know how they are calculated, you will have to ask them! Just keep in mind that, not all companies are transparent as DigiQure is!
Some other companies display the number of patients helped by the doctor using their platform; this number should be taken only with a pinch of salt. I will tell you why?
Doctors who just passed their BDS can create an account in such companies with ease and they can start helping the patients immediately. Some of the big names in this field even charge the doctors to display their name in the top of the list! The doctor who pays the most gets the most number of patients, it’s that simple! DigiQure doesn’t do that! We are focused on providing value to the patients, transparently and honestly, period!
Qualifications and Degrees of the Doctor
If you are thinking that the specialty degrees are the only basis of classifying doctors, you are mistaken, dear friend. Let me explain this point!
You might have heard and seen about B.D.S/MBBS and postgraduate degrees in foreign countries, haven’t you? They are cheap, attractive and of low quality at the same time!
Did you know that students who complete their B.D.S/MBBS or any such undergraduate degree, or even post graduations, from foreign countries are not allowed to practice in India until they clear an exam here in India?
Most such foreign universities, particularly the ones in China and Russia, are focused on luring Indian money and nothing else. If you ask students who studied in such countries, you will be shocked!
They do not get to talk to a patient, during the full course of their study! Examining and interacting with patients for such students starts when they come back to India! The 5 years they spend in such countries is only to by-heart some PowerPoint slides, some pdfs, ebooks and some original medical textbooks. They acquire Zero practical knowledge!
I’m not talking about USMLE or PLAB (UK), I’m specifically referring to some universities in the two countries and some other third world countries around the world.
Surprised? You don’t believe me? Why don’t you make a few phone calls and figure it out?
Things are a little better when it comes to the expensive medical education offered in some of the private medical colleges in India. But, the quality and medical exposure that a student acquires from a reputed college or a government college in India are the best any doctor can boast about.
Patients in India only look at the length of the degrees attached to the doctor’s name. They do not bother to find out where their doctor completed his or her medical education.
How many times have you asked your doctor about the name of the college where he studied?
Students with the lowest ranks scored in competitive exams conducted in India, but with huge cash in their accounts get whatever degrees they want, they buy it!
Doctors who have an active account in DigiQure are all graduates from reputed colleges and universities in India itself. Most of them are my personal friends and batchmates too.
DigiQure does not boast about the tens and thousands of doctors that we have. But, the little number of doctors registered in DigiQure are of pure quality and I can assure you that, 100%.
Verification of Online Doctors
Doctors who register at DigiQure need to upload all their qualification certificates, registration certificates before their account becomes activated. Are you wondering how that is different from the other companies?
Doctors who have not uploaded their certificates, will not be displayed to the public, that’s it! Such a doctor’s profile becomes publicly visible only when their account is verified from the back end.
DigiQure after collecting the certificates and other documents verifies it with the Medical Council of India/Dental Council of India then interviews the doctor, and their account is activated only when we are fully satisfied.
It’s not the patient’s duty to check whether the doctor is verified or not. That should be done by the service provider or the company. It’s a shady practice and that’s why DigiQure doesn’t follow such methods.
Ease of Starting a Consultation Online
Online doctor consultations work best for getting urgent medical advice. I hope you know the difference between urgency and emergency. Consulting a doctor online is not the thing that you should be doing in emergencies. In emergencies, visit your nearest healthcare center or hospital as soon as possible.
When you need to get urgent medical advice, jumping through hoops repeatedly is not that you should be doing. Filling up forms, verifying phone numbers, verifying email addresses, then filling up a big form that you have seen at hospitals, and finally entering your credit card information. No, I wouldn’t want to do that as a patient, nor should you be!
Signing up for an account in DigiQure takes less than 30 seconds. You only need to verify your phone number once and provide only your basic info such as name, location, and email address, and that’s it.
Consulting a doctor after logging in is simple. We have designed the app and website in such a way that no one becomes confused when trying to get a medical opinion online.
If you have subscribed to DigiQure packages, your consultation request flies to the right doctor instantly! You do not have to go through the payment gateway pages and forms. You will be surprised to find how simple it is to send a consultation request when you are our premium package subscriber.
Choosing the doctor based on their specialty is very easy on DigiQure The doctor’s profile page displays all the information that you need to make your decision on which doctor to consult.
I have personally used a company based in Gurugram and I had to enter my credit card details before trying to start the “promised free consultation”. I thought they wouldn’t charge me and forgot to remove the credit card details. Do you know what happened exactly after one month?
I was charged 2500 INR because according to them, I had subscribed to their annual package, of which I had no idea! It was their hidden agenda, as I found out later. After 2 months and changing my credit card, a few emails to my bank, I finally got the refund, phewwww.. that was hard nonetheless.
That is why I have tried to make DigiQure as transparent as possible, with no hidden agendas and policies.
The subscription packages at DigiQure makes getting an online doctor’s help, even more, faster for a “quick consultation” feature. You can send the request within four taps, yes just 5 taps on the screen and all you have to do is wait for the doctor to call you back! Imagine how cool is that!
In case you are not an active subscriber, you will have to make payments for every consultation, just like other companies do.