There are few facets of life that the recent technological revolution driven by the internet has not touched. It can be difficult to remember what life was like not that long ago, when a universe of entertainment and conveniences were not available at the fingertips of anybody with a reliable, high speed internet connection. However, people with such a connection also enjoy a range of benefits that transcend the realms of convenience and entertainment. The internet has also transformed some extremely important aspects of daily life – including healthcare.
Less than two decades ago, for most people healthcare was generally a much different experience. One thing that the internet has transmuted in a general sense is the way that you can access information. For people without the proper knowledge and/or involvement with the medical industry, information about any kind of medical condition was difficult to come by without setting foot in a doctor’s office.
It is easy to take for granted the fact that these days you can type anything into a search engine and almost always get some kind of relevant information regarding your query. In the case of medical questions, there are numerous reputable sites such as WebMD and the Mayo Clinic that have helped many internet users learn about their symptoms and conditions.
Of course, the internet is just a starting place for any person to take care of their healthcare needs, but search engines have become a valuable tool for people who were left mostly in the dark in the past. The information found on reputable websites can also help augment the information that patients receive from medical professionals, helping people more fully understand their health and treatment options while also making more informed personal decisions.
More than just a source of information, the internet has also greatly improved the experience of receiving proper healthcare. Whether through a site like ZocDoc or through an online insurance directory, finding the right doctor has never been easier, especially with helpful reviews of physicians available online as well as tools for researching the credentials of medical professionals.
For many people the most incredible thing about finding a doctor online is that often you do not even need to pick up a phone to make an appointment. In the past, simply booking an appointment with a GP or a specialist meant having to call an office during their open hours, hopefully getting a staff member on the phone, and probably waiting on hold for an indeterminate amount of time before having to discuss appointment times, going through the painstaking process of giving all of your insurance and other information verbally over the phone and hoping they got it correct before finally making your appointment.
With sites like the aforementioned ZocDoc all of this can be done at any time of day with a few keyboard clicks, easing and shortening the process greatly. More and more practices are expanding their own websites to allow for online scheduling as well.
For people who are diagnosed and/or suffering with various medical conditions, the internet also offers an unprecedented base of support with various message boards and social media groups for people to give each other advice and general emotional support, something which only existed before the internet in the form of support groups that could usually only take a few people. This is one of the most profound ways the internet has changed healthcare.
All of these things and more are made possible with nothing more than an internet connection, the gateway to an extraordinarily advanced healthcare experience and more.