For most people, the idea of using a website to search for and apply for health care services sounds like a no-brainer.
It’s free, easy and easy to use.
But as more and more people use online tools like Google to find doctors, hospitals and hospitals to see them, the concept of online health care is becoming a lot more complicated.
As online health is increasingly viewed as a necessary step to the right of being able to access healthcare, some healthcare professionals are becoming concerned that the process of finding the right provider may become less straightforward.
“What happens when you’re looking for a health care provider online, it becomes much harder,” says Julie Eichinger, the executive director of the Center for Online Health.
Eichinger has seen the impact online health has had on the health of her staff.
“When we first started our team, we had an entire office full of doctors who used Google to look up people and search for them.
And it was really difficult for us to keep them all updated,” she says.”
It’s a real challenge for us.
When you’re going through an entire hospital that’s in constant need of care, you don’t want to have to go to the same doctor every time you have a check-up.”
The rise of the internetHealth experts are concerned that online health services like Google and Facebook may make it more difficult to find a doctor when they need it.
In the US, there are more than 15 million people with health problems online.
That’s up from 5.4 million in 2007.
In 2018, online health providers accounted for 17% of all health care visits in the United States, according to a survey by the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Eichlinger says many people may be using these services as an excuse to use the internet without having to actually seek help.
“They’re using it as a distraction, they’re using them as an escape,” she explains.
“They’re not really looking for the real thing.
And then they end up with a false sense of security.”
Eichlinger believes that it’s important to keep in mind that while online health may not be the best way to access health care, it’s not necessarily the only way.
“We’re still working on that.
But if we’re going to have a conversation about it, we need to start there,” she said.
Eicheninger says she hopes to see the US government start to think about online health as a public good.
“The idea of having a public health system, of getting people health care through the health system and then using that to access and provide it to them, that is something that we need,” she explained.
“And that’s something that I hope will happen as we move forward.
But we’re also going to need to work on making sure that we’re not allowing this kind of behavior to continue.”
Follow Alison on Twitter: @alisonlaurin