How often do you pay your doctor a visit? Do you look forward to it? How do you interact with your doctor? Are you totally comfortable asking whatever questions you have, or do you hesitate to bring up certain topics?

Virtual Doctor

Online Doctor

If you’re anything like many people, you might consider certain questions to be too sensitive to ask anyone. Even your doctor.

But what if you had a way to ask any and all questions, no matter how personal you may consider them to be, and get the responses that your doctor will tell you? Without having to ask the questions of a human being, face to face, that is.

That’s what Pearl.com offers the general public. The site is a professional advice venue, where users can consult with experts in their fields. For a fee of course. They have a panel of professionals such as physicians and lawyers, although the focus seems mainly on health-related services.

A survey

If we can overlook the possible conflict of interest here, the group recently conducted a survey. The goal of the survey was to determine whether patients tend to ask more questions online as opposed to approaching their doctors.

The results of the survey:

  • 63 percent are more likely to ask questions about sex and STDs online
  • 65 percent avoid going to the doctor and instead look for answers online
While the survey only covered 1,000 people, I think that this can be representative of how many other patients behave. With easy access to online information AND services like Pearl.com, it is not that surprising that people actually favour going online for health-related questions.
The reasons?

The most obvious reason is the awkwardness of some topics, although only 21 percent pointed to this reason. A more popular – and practical – reason is health insurance coverage, which 24 percent of people cited.

Should you ditch your doctor?

It does seem reasonable for patients to go online to seek answers, but doctors do have something to say about that – and not only because of lost professional fees. While the trend for seeking answers online is on the rise, I still think the time’s not ripe for the Internet to totally replace human doctors.

What about you? Has the Internet practically become your consulting physician in the recent years?

 

[Image via Flinders EMA]