According to the Monster website, a specialised company for job hunters, one of the biggest trends emerging in health care is telemedicine. No matter what your job title is, just about every industry in the health care sector has some sort of stake in telemedicine.
What is Telemedicine?
Telemedicine is formally defined as “the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve a patient’s clinical health status. Telemedicine includes a growing variety of applications and services using two-way video, email, smart phones, wireless tools and other forms of telecommunications technology.”
The global telehealth market is projected to reach $19.5 billion by 2025, according to a report from market intelligence company Transparency Market Research.
Another report, much more optimistic, predicts that global telemedicine will be worth more than $66 billion by the end of the year 2021.
Examples in Naturopathy
Naturopathy – or any complementary medicine for that matter – is no exception to the new online doctors’ trend. You’ll find websites such as askanaturopath.com or consultanaturopath,com.
If you go to any online services from an alternative medicine practitioner, you’ll generally have to follow these steps:
- select a time that works best for you,
- choose either phone or Skype,
- receive a confirmation from one of the practitioner’s at the time of the scheduled consultation.
- At the end of your virtual consultation you may receive a copy of your individual recommendations.
Some naturopathic physicians also offer self-service protocols and lab tests. Others, in order to get better acquainted, offer a free 15-min. or more meet & greet. You’ll talk about yourself and see if you feel comfortable with your online practitioner. The astute doctor will use this time to understand what is unique about the patient.
Pat Deacon, an online homeopath, writes: “I have been meeting with patients online for more than 10 years and have found it to be a very effective way of conducting a homeopathic consultation”. Here are the fees she charges for her online consultations (in Canadian dollars). They include quick emails and the remedies:
First consultations (1 hour) $250.
Follow – ups (45 minutes) $125.
Acute consultations (up to 30 minutes) $65.
What are the Advantages of Online Consultations?
- Cuts out travel.
- Relieve in-office staffing issues.
- Highly flexible hours, possible to consult on holidays in certain cases.
- Possibility to do it as a side-gig.
- Same work but virtual platform. No risk of passing on viral illnesses to others.
- It’s also a more personal meeting when the practitioner sees the patient in his environment.
- If the patient or the doctor moves town or even country, the relationship can still continue.
A recent study from Australia shows that the most sought after sources of nutrition information was the internet. Also, the same research paper shows that naturopaths were amongst the most trustworthy source of information. You do the maths. About 30% of people cannot easily attend in-person consultations. Therefore, naturopaths with an online presence are filling a void in the complementary medicine world.
If you’d like to start your own practice in Naturopathy or another alternative medicine, you could try one of our postgraduate degrees, once you’ve graduated from a specialised program with us.