What would we do without Google? It's the world’s greatest encyclopedia. There's nothing you can’t find with a simple Google search.
Need to look up recipes with zucchini and squash? Voila! You’re on your way to a gourmet meal. Need to find out which band wrote Touch of Grey? Grateful Dead fans won’t need to search this, but it's easily found. Need to find medical advice or direction on symptoms you’re experiencing? Hold on. This one isn’t so simple. This is now personal and your good health may depend on it. Based on recent personal experience with Lyme Disease, I found out I needed to be careful using Google or WebMD searches.
As the doctor shortage worsens, networks shrink, insurance coverage decreases, and medical care costs increase, Americans need non-traditional places to turn to for care and solid advice. With a Doctors Online service, members have access to email their medical questions 24/7 to board-certified physicians, psychologists, pediatricians, alternative medicine specialists, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, nutritionists, dietitians, etc. They receive answers specific to their symptoms and medical history within hours.
I’m sharing 3 things I learned using a Doctors Online service while uncovering that I had Lyme Disease…
#1 Google doesn’t have true answers for vague symptoms
Search “flu like symptoms with stiff neck and headache” and you’ll be ordering your cemetery plot in no time. Trying to self-diagnose based on general symptoms was confusing and alarming. In my situation, Lyme Disease never showed up. Only when the bullseye rash developed was I able to begin to narrow down the possibilities and Lyme Disease showed in the searches. But even so, I needed a professional opinion, preferably sooner rather than later.
Using a Doctors Online service was invaluable. I was able to take a picture of the rash using my app, explain the myriad of other symptoms, and email to a panel of physician specialists. Within several hours of my inquiry, I had a personalized response in my app’s in-box with a strong confirmation of what was believed to be Lyme Disease. This response was from a board-certified physician who invited me to follow up with additional questions.
#2 Google searches are not efficient for evaluating treatment protocols
The internet has too much information, so professional guidance is needed. Relying on my personal physician for treatment options was the place to start. However, my Doctors Online physician acted as my 2nd opinion as I worked with my personal physician to develop the treatment plan. I have saved money and time by not having to schedule appointments for 2nd opinions. With the service, I can email conventional treatment specialists as well as alternative medicine specialists. And again, I can ask as many follow up questions as necessary, all for no additional cost.
#3 Google can’t help with a prolonged illness
When you’re experiencing a major medical crisis in your life, sometimes you just need quick answers and reliable advice as you’re going through it. Searching Google every time was more alarming than helpful. And as you can imagine, calling your doctor or jumping in the car every time a new symptom you perceive as concerning pops up, isn’t realistic. BUT, being able to have a back and forth conversation with a physician who knows the member’s illness, situation, and even has access to their medical history and tests (if you send them) is invaluable. While Lyme Disease is no cakewalk, I can’t imagine going through an even more major medical issue without a Doctors Online service. This not only saves on medical costs, it’s a service that brings HUGE peace of mind.
Google is an amazing technology that has changed all our lives over the last few years. Even so, it’s not the best help for our medical needs. The great news is that there is other technology – current and on the horizon – that can ease our minds and wallets in the midst of a medical issue.
TIP! In many areas of the country, Lyme Disease is becoming more common, so employees in some of your groups might experience the confusion I did. It can manifest as many different symptoms and is hard to diagnose. Blood tests are not reliable and many folks will not get the telltale rash. If you see confusing and seemingly unrelated symptoms, Lyme Disease should be considered.
Finally, the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) is a very helpful referral service for Lyme Disease specialists by zip code - I was able to find an experienced Lyme Disease physician immediately.
Now, it’s your turn! Have you tried a Doctors Online service? What was your experience? Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!