Consumption: The Future World of Online Medicine

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With all the changes we went through as a society during the time of Covid-19, the world of online medicine and doctors became mostly vital. This area of the internet was prominent as people went into lockdown and survived isolation. Hospitals and doctors’ offices were closed to all non-emergency and uninfected patients, leaving lots of people without common medical care. This allowed the idea of online doctors and therapy appointments to thrive in this time. People were able to meet with professionals and get health care for conditions such as anxiety, the common cold, arthritis, and services including various therapies.

The circuit of culture is how to appropriately and completely study a topic and its influence on our way of life. This way of exploring includes consumers who use the product, how it is used, its purpose, the identity of said consumers, the rules enforced over the product, how it is made, and how this all influences the product. The idea of consumption looks at how, why, what limits, and who comes across to use the product. The analysis of the type of people who consume online medicine reveals the use, access, and outcome of the product.

There is a cost to this consumption which usually comes per appointment, but the online service generally costs less than an appointment at an in-person doctor’s office. This makes it more affordable for many just by lowering the cost for an appointment. Those who cannot consume this product are those who cannot afford the necessary technology. The service is typically consumed through a website or app, meaning that there needs to be access to internet and technology. It often requires some type of laptop, internet, address, and camera. It is often advertised through commercials, billboards, and flyers. There is a large marketing effort because the service is newly popular due to the social changes from the pandemic. I have seen multiple commercials for online therapy, doctors, and prescriptions. This is perfect for the target audience because they are those who do not wish to leave their houses, which are people staying at home watching the television advertisement.

There are still the same requirements for doctors who participate in online appointments as those who practice traditional medicine. The healthcare professionals must be properly qualified to provide patient care including providing prescriptions and therapy. The relationship consumed by the user is patient-to-doctor. The users consume this service in hopes of seeking medical treatment. Those who produce the product or service – the doctors – often do not use it themselves. These doctors do not often need to go to appointments because they have friends who can diagnosis and prescribe them medicine. Those who produce this service are different from who they serve because they have higher educational qualifications which allow them to not have a use for it.

This trend will continue to grow because it provides convenience, access, and privacy for people who cannot always find these qualities in an in-person office. These sessions are easier to schedule and are typically more affordable. There is an additional level of privacy and comfort for patients to stay in their own homes during appointments. There is a large amount of the population that have some type of fear or aversion to the physical environment of a doctor’s office. Others are afraid to be honest with their doctors due to fear of judgment or embarrassment. Through online services, people can create a space in which they feel comfortable and confident in, contrasting the more pressurized and serious atmosphere of a doctor’s office. This specifically relates to online therapy sessions. People are more skeptical of the science behind mental health and there are still many people who are scared to be seen at a therapist’s office. The ability to hide behind a screen may allow more people to be open to seeking professional help and utilize the online medical services.

There is a level of professionalism which limits how many people participate in the consumption of online doctors. For most people, it is hard to believe that someone you talk to through your laptop is qualified to diagnose and treat their illnesses. There are also doctors who prefer seeing patients in person due to the in-person connection. Appointments in which doctors cannot do physical examinations may limit their ability to diagnose patients efficiently and correctly. There are many symptoms which patients may possess that they do not notice themselves that a doctor would more likely be able notice in person. Online appointments are made for people who have specific problems they are seeking to solve. This would cut out possible diagnoses doctors can make through processes such as asking their patients unrelated questions or noticing improper gestures their patients make. Because this is common of in-person appointments, doctors may not necessarily make these appointments over a computer or phone call.

Overall, the idea of online medicine is to improve access to efficient and affordable medicine and health care. It increases the number of people who can take advantage of health care and get the proper treatment. This includes ordering prescriptions online, online doctor’s appointments, more access to communication directly with doctors, and virtual therapy sessions. However, the broad access does limit the direct connections with doctors, which can potentially lead to missing diagnoses because they are not seeing their patients in person. Even so, the future of the internet positively impacts the consumers of online medicine.

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