Tag Archives: medicine

Telemedicine: Helping Healthcare Switch From Reactive to Proactive

For decades healthcare has focused more on treating the fallout of health problems after they had become full-blown issues as opposed to screening and preventing future health problems from arising in the first place. Luckily, this is changing as telemedicine and other technologically driven medical advancements make it much easier to screen, check up on and preventatively treat certain health issues like diabetes, heart disease and blindness before they fully develop or become too severe.

6 Examples of Predictive Medical Technology

“Predictive technology” comes to patients today in such readily accessible forms as:

  1. Intelligent phone apps that can take a patient’s vitals and transmit the info to a doctor
  2. Healthcare alerting engines like SARA (Situational Awareness and Response Assistant) help lessen the workload of overburdened nurses, doctors and care attendants by helping monitor and attend to hospital or nursing home patients.
  3. CISOR patient monitoring systems.
  4. Wearable smart technology such as fitness sensors that monitor a person’s normal vitals and routines and can help get them back on track when they deviate a healthy path.
  5. Telemedicine advancements such as mobile retinopathy screening devices that can detect early eye diseases before they become problematic.
  6. Advanced types of screening for silent diseases like lung cancer.

How Telemedicine Companies are Helping Make the Shift

Telemedicine companies like DocChat are help improve healthcare accessibility and affordability which in turn can help patients receive care in a timely manner instead of letting a health problem worsen while waiting months or longer for access to healthcare. Telemedicine companies also act well as a method of screening which problems require immediate medical assistance and which are not serious. Telemedicine is also excellent for monitoring and managing chronic conditions to ensure the patient’s state isn’t silently deteriorating or worsening.

This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the impressive strides medical technology is making. Thanks for visiting DocChat! Our board-certified physicians are standing by 24/7/365 to assist you with any of your medical queries!



6 Scary Reasons for Men To Stop Avoiding the Doc (Part 1)

According to the CDC, women are 33% more likely to visit the doctor regularly or when health concerns arise than men are. Most men skip annual physicals year after year, thinking “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. This is a dangerous mentality, as many diseases that commonly strike men creep in silently and gradually, with few or no symptoms (until it is too late). So, while many men may feel invincible to disease, the reality is they are anything but. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common diseases to afflict (and kill) men:

  1. Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, striking 1 in every 4 American men. According to the CDC, between 70-80% of heart attacks and other cardiac events happen to men. Even more starling is the fact that at least half of men who undergo these life-threatening heart episodes had no previous symptoms. So boys, do you see just how important it is to get regular checkups? Only a doctor can tell you how your cholesterol levels are, or if your blood pressure is where it should be. Might be time to book an appointment!

  1. Stroke

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is reduced or cut off, and brain cells die off due to lack of oxygen. As the fifth leading cause of death in American men, strokes are all too common in today’s population. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented by curbing modifiable risk factors such as:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Leading a high-stress lifestyle
  • Physical inactivity
  • Eating a diet high in take-out and junk food and low in produce
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Being significantly overweight or obese.
  1. Testicular Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of disease-related death in the united states, and men succumb to the effects more often than women. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, more than half of all American men will get some form of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Testicular cancer is the most common form for young men, striking over 8700 men and killing approximately 380 of them annually. The shocking prevalence of cancer among men should be enough reason alone for men to attend their annual physical or get a checkup when things don’t seem right, as cancer is much more survivable the earlier it is caught. Lung cancer and prostate cancer also strike males with alarming frequency and smoking is often to blame for the former of the two.

That concludes part 1 of our men’s health feature, stay tuned for part 2 next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Telemedicine Mythbusters (Part 1)

Telemedicine is finally on the rise as many people are starting to see just how convenient and effective it is to see your doctor from home, however, many still aren’t convinced that it is an adequate stand-in for a traditional doctor’s visit. In some ways telemedicine actually surpasses brick-and-mortar medicine, such as:

  • Allowing the efficiency of skipping waiting rooms, commute time or having to take time off work to see a doctor
  • Making healthcare more accessible
  • Providing continuing care for chronic conditions
  • Allowing easy follow-up care
  • Providing a safer medicinal route for those with mobility issues or the elderly who may have troubles venturing out.

Next, we want to bust some common telemedicine myths that may be barriers standing in the way of people embracing telemedicine:

  1. You need a physical examination for any doctor’s visit

This is mostly untrue. By the American Medical Association’s calculations, up to 78% of health matters can be addressed via telemedicine. That 78% covers a lot of ground including (but not limited to): infections, rashes, acne, arthritis, minor injuries, STIs, allergies, asthma, as well as management of chronic conditions such as diabetes and many more. Telemedicine acts as triage as well, letting you know if your medical problem is something that needs the be examined, or preventing you from spending a whole day (and pocket-full) in the ER for something that can be managed from home. Never underestimate the power of technology – the doctor will be able to tell a lot from high definition video conferences, photos or videos.

  1. Give medical details over the internet? What about my privacy?

Not all telemedicine companies have the same level of information protection, but speaking from DocChat’s perspective, we use government-standard 256bit AES block cipher and SHA2 encryption to ensure your sensitive information is under unbreakable lock-and-key. DocChat also strictly adheres to HIPAA privacy laws so needless to say, your medical information is safe with us!

  1. Telemedicine doctors aren’t the same as “real” doctors though, right?

Telemedicine doctors are real doctors. Once again, we can’t speak from the point of view of all telemedicine companies, however, all of our DocChat physicians are board certified and just as qualified as any doctor you would visit at a clinic. Many of our physicians also have years of emergency room work under their belts. We conduct a rigorous vetting process to ensure we have only the best working on our team. However, be sure to practice caution when it comes to searching telemedicine companies, as not all of them are as strict about physician vetting. Some companies may not have board certified physicians, so do your research. Another facet of telemedicine includes independent hospital and clinic doctors who also run virtual practices for their rural or immobile patients.

  1. But I won’t be able to get my prescription for the infection I have!

Sure you will! When appropriate, DocChat doctors can prescribe any non-narcotic prescriptions that a face-to-face doctor would. Have an infection? DocChat physicians will happily help you out by issuing antibiotics directly to your pharmacy for pickup or delivery!

  1. You have to be a tech-savvy millennial to use telemedicine

This one is also untrue. While many people may think telemedicine is a complicated, mysterious notion more suited to the younger phone-loving generation, this isn’t the case. It is a great service for all ages. Over 60% of senior Americans go online via smartphone, tablet or laptop regularly and many of our current regular patients are senior Americans who love not having to make a trip out every time they need doctor’s advice. All you need to see a doctor via telemedicine is an internet connection and a website or app. Simply install our easy-to-use DocChat app, sign up and you’re ready to go!

So there you have it, a few common telemedicine myths busted! Stay tuned for Part 2 in the future. Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Telemedicine for Minor Immediate Issues

Did you ever have to spend all day in pursuit of a last minute doctor’s appointment or emergency care just for a simple complaint that was easily rectified? We’ve all been there. But luckily, there is a quicker and easy one-word answer to these small health inquiries – telemedicine!

While telemedicine is great for helping control chronic conditions like arthritis as well as to diagnose and treat most common medical issues (up to 78% of complaints, according to the AMA), telemedicine especially excels when it comes to quick problems.

When we say “quick problems” we are talking about such one-time ailments as:
•    Sunburn or small minor burns
•    Uncontrolled dandruff
•    Quick medical questions (such as medication interactions)
•    Heartburn or diarrhea
•    Skin infection
•    Yeast or urinary tract infection
•    Sore throat or cough
•    Rash
•    Conjunctivitis
•    Suspicious bug bite
•    Fever

Basically, we’re talking about problems that may be easily fixed with an antibiotic prescription or special pharmacological cream. It is one thing to spend hours waiting for a same-day appointment or emergency care for something serious and complex, but isn’t life too short to waste precious time, money and patience on appointments for things that can be easily handled in the comfort of your living room?

Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Tele-ICU – Revolutionizing Critical Care for Remote Patients

Tele-ICU has existed for decades, but is only getting the recognition it deserves recently. It allows under-resourced rural hospitals without the appropriate specialists to handle critical care patients by teleconferencing with specialists thousands of miles away each step of the way, and also allows other hospitals to monitor remote ICU patients using audio visual technology.

Nurses Sing Tele-ICU Praises

In a survey that questioned 1200 American ICU nurses on the effectiveness on tele-ICU technology, 79% reported that tele-ICU helped improve patient care. Moreover, 63% said it enables quicker work performance and 75% said it allowed them to do their jobs more effectively.

Tele-ICU Monitored Closely From A Distance

With approximately 200 participating hospitals in the US, and thousands of nurses working to help facilitate it, medical technology is enabling the critical care of over 6000 remote patients. Tele-ICU allows health providers to electronically review vital signs, test results and oversee medication administration of remote patients, allowing them to also communicate medication changes or care changes to the on-site caretakers technologically. This system may be even more secure in some ways than traditional ICU units, as distant doctors can closely monitor patient safety round-the-clock and quickly detect any abnormalities or instabilities in the vitals.

Room For Growth

Tele-ICU is a field that is still progressing however, and depends on the understanding and willingness of attending nurses and doctors to participate in order to work properly, though it is clear that without this technology, thousands of patients would be suffering or worse.

The Bottom Line

Telemedicine continues to facilitate more revolutionary and progressive healthcare options as time goes on, improving upon current methods and allowing care to the previously out-of-reach. Tele-ICU will continue to grow and advance, saving lives and helping doctors and nurses reach the next level of care.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you’ll be back again soon.

Medical Mythbusters – Summer Edition!


We decided to start a Medical Mythbuster feature, so here is our very first on the topic of summer health and safety! Check out these common summer health myths and try to guess from the title if they are true or false before reading further. Let’s see how many you get right!

  1. Jelly Fish Stings – To Pee Or Not To Pee?

This is a very common medical myth that we’ve probably all heard, but recent research has debunked it, suggesting that urinating on a jellyfish sting may actually make the injury worse as urine is quite acidic. The best course of action is to use warm water and a numbing agent such as lidocaine and seek medical treatment.

  1. Eyes Can Get Sunburnt

Most people don’t think of their eyes as being a body part that can be sunburned, can you picture sunburnt eyes? Not a nice image. But unfortunately it is entirely possible. The eyes are quite sensitive, and when exposed to high intensity UV rays for too long they become red, sore, itchy and sometimes painful. The effects are similar to the “flash” some welders experience when they don’t use protective eyewear while working with intense flames. Turns out sunglasses weren’t just invented for driving in style! So, protect those peepers this summer!

  1. Don’t Swim After You Eat

Another widespread summer myth that has since turned out to be mostly inaccurate. Unless you eat a whole turkey and the trimmings, you should be fine to swim. You will not sink, the worst thing that may happen if you eat too much before swimming is a stomach cramp or heartburn. Most professional swimmers eat healthy protein almost directly before competing or training, as they have low body fat percentages and require the energy. Our moms may have been a little over-concerned about this old tale but they can all relax and let their little ones go for a dip after a light snack this summer!

  1. Eww! Spit On Your Fresh Wound?

FACT (Well…kind of).
We don’t recommend that you start licking your cuts, but there has been a fair bit of empirical research about the healing powers of a specific enzyme found in the saliva. These enzymes are very powerful in animals, which is how they heal superficial wounds so quickly in the wild. Opposing medical camps argue that the helpful enzyme is overruled by the millions and of bacteria in the human mouth, some of which are harmful and could potentially cause infection in an open wound. So there may be some truth to saliva having a medicinal property in theory (and could probably help in a pinch), but one should be careful licking cuts or the bacteria may cause more harm than good!

The Summer Sun Is Only Dangerous To Skin

While skin cancer is a huge and very real summer sun concern, overheating is often overlooked as a summer danger. Heat exhaustion is much more of a dangerous topic than people believe. Over 600 Americans die annually of overheating in the summer, and many others become very ill. Small children and the elderly are most at risk for extreme symptoms or death due to overheating. Many of these deaths are preventable by drinking a lot of water to remain hydrated in the heat (especially when exercising), removing yourself from spending too much time in the direct summer heat, intermittently cooling off, and never leaving small children (or anyone) in hot cars or other overheated areas in summer.

Well that is all for our first edition of Medical Mythbusters! Thanks for visiting DocChat! Keep an eye out for future Mythbusters posts!





Telemedicine for Asthma And Allergy Care

Spring brings plenty of seasonal irritants along with it, so we thought it was an opportune time to examine the benefits of telemedicine as an option for continued allergy and asthma healthcare. Telemedicine can be a beneficial means of care for many other chronic illnesses such as arthritis, skin conditions, diabetes or stroke aftercare, so why not asthma and allergies? Studies already show that telemedicine is making major strides in asthma day-to-day care and maintenance.

Technology Aided Monitoring

Our modern world brandishes advanced technology including sharper images, HD screens and crisp audio. These attributes make it easy to diagnose and monitor chronic conditions such as allergies via telemedicine. If a person suffers from worsening hives, they can send photos of the different stages, as well as show a telemedicine doctor via teleconference the condition of their skin. A telemedicine doctor can also clearly see swelling, rashes and bloodshot or irritated eyes. When it comes to asthmatics, the doctor will be able to hear any wheezing or breathing changes that may be present, making it easy to assess the state of a patient’s condition. He or she will also be able to see potential physical characteristics such as blue/purple lips or nails, or pale skin and under-eye bags which may be indicative of inadequate sleep due to an asthma flare-up.

Get Prescriptions Filled Or Changed

Based on the doctor’s assessment of the progression of the patient’s allergies or asthma, the doctor can alter antihistamine levels or brands, change up puffers, or prescribe corticosteroids if need be. Doctors can send the prescriptions straight to the patient’s pharmacy and arrange for them to be home delivered.

Continued Medical Advice

Sometimes, especially with asthma, patients simply need general advice, or reassurance on the status of their condition. If a patient is having trouble sleeping or feels like they may be breathing extra shallow, a telemedicine consult can help determine whether the patient should be concerned and seek primary or emergency treatment soon, or if they are okay and should just up their puffers and try to relax. This is a helpful resource as the person likely doesn’t want to waste hours in an emergency room or try to get a doctor’s appointment just to be told they simply need to temporarily up their puffers, especially since clinic environments are dangerous for an asthmatic’s weakened immune system. In this way, telemedicine doctors can act as convenience triage for asthmatics.

Convenience During Pollen Season

This method of healthcare can be extremely convenient during hay fever months if the person has a bad allergy to pollen, or if their asthma flares up because of it. Those who are hypersensitive to pollen will want to spend as much time inside as possible so as not to worsen their condition. Being able to check in with a doctor without having to head out into a threatening cloud of pollen and wait in a germy clinic when their resistance is already down would be a big plus for hay fever sufferers or asthmatics during this time of year.

Feel free to call, email or visit DocChat‘s website to set up a video consultation with one of our highly skilled physicians about your allergies or asthma today. Thanks for visiting, hope to see you soon!



Cold Care – Tips and Tidbits (Part 2)

Cold And Flu

There are over 100 different viruses that can cause the common cold. The two most prominent are the coronavirus and rhinovirus. While there is no “cure” for the common cold, there are things you can do to alleviate your symptoms and help ease you into recovery.

What To Do When Prevention Fails?

You tried every preventative measure you could think of but still caught that cold, so what now? Well, there are many traditional remedies that may help ease your symptoms, as well as certain over the counter (OTC) medications. Natural remedies also exist that may help your illness pass quickly and quietly. Some of the most widely accepted cold-fighting measures to take include getting plenty of rest, hydrating more than normal to flush out the germs more quickly, and avoiding secondhand smoke or other irritants that may bother your upper respiratory tract even more.

Avoid Unnecessary Meds

Many cold-marketed cough syrups and other medications claim to ‘cure’ but don’t actually work for colds, and can be counterproductive to your recovery. Common cough syrups contain a cough suppressing agent called dextromethorphan (DM) which can actually stall your recovery and can be especially dangerous to asthmatics and children. There is a reason we cough when we are sick; coughing and sneezing are your body’s ways of purging unwanted germs. You want to get that gunk out of your lungs as soon as you can, so let your annoying coughs resound!

Natural Remedies That Help

While many natural remedies have been debunked or remain unproven, there are those that help. Some of the more beneficial ones include:

  • Salt water – The healing power of salt water is pretty widely accepted, and saline nasal sprays can act as decongestants while salt water gargles can help heal sore throats.
  • Ginger and peppermint – Ginger has shown some promise helping with certain bad stomach issues, while peppermint has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with sinuses (in steam) or the digestive tract.
  • Sipping warm liquids – The warmth can break up mucus and get it flowing to help clear you out.
  • Vaporizers and humidifiers – Adding moisture to the air can also help decongest some people.

Meds That Do Work

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) such as Advil or ibuprofen (not aspirin) can help alleviate any inflammation or aches and pains associated with your cold and help bring down mild fevers. Decongestants have also proven successful for some cold sufferers, as they help decrease inflammation in the nasal passages and airways while helping to soothe stuffiness.

Don’t Run For The Antibiotics!

Many people go to the doctor with the first onset of a cold symptom expecting antibiotics. In actuality, the vast majority of colds are viral, not bacterial, so antibiotics won’t help one bit. Taking antibiotics unnecessarily or too frequently contributes to antibiotic resistance which could work against you when you really need them in the future. Antibiotics also disrupt the gut’s bacterial ecosystem, killing off good bacteria along with the bad. Lastly, antibiotics are medications which, like any, have potential side effects. Too many antibiotics can be especially troublesome for causing diarrhea in children.

When To Visit The Doc

Most colds resolve themselves within 7-10 days, but that is not to say no one should go to the doctor for a cold. If your baby or young child has a cold, definitely take them to a doctor as soon as possible. If you are immunocompromised (hindered by a chronic condition such as AIDS or a respiratory disease) you should also touch base with your doctor as you may need medications (such as corticosteroids) to help your body fight the bug. Lastly, if your cold is hanging on too long and not improving, or you have a high, persistent fever, it is time to visit your doctor, or download the DocChat app to have a video consultation with one of our top-notch physicians today!

Fast Facts About Telemedicine

Telemedicine word cloud

Here are some facts about the newly advancing telemedicine field that you may not know:

  • Over 78% of Doctor’s visits can be handled via telemedicine
  • Overcrowded U.S. emergency rooms see over 136 million visits annually
  • Only 11% of ER visits end in admission
  • Rural citizens have to travel an average of 60 miles to receive speciality care
  • Telemedicine can benefit the nearly 50 million Americans who live in highly remote rural areas without readily available healthcare
  • Urinary Tract Infections account for over 8 million doctor’s visits annually, and can be easily diagnosed and treated via telemedicine
  • Over half of U.S. hospitals utilize telemedicine
  • Telemedicine could deliver over $6 billion in healthcare savings to U.S. companies annually
  • 67% of healthcare professionals either use, or plan to use some form of telemedicine
  • The global telemedicine market is forecasted to reach $36 300 000 000 by 2020
  • According to the TRC, “Mortality rate dropped from 13.6% to 11.8% after tele-ICU was implemented, and length of stay in the ICU fell from 13.3 days of 9.8.”
  • In 2004 alone, prisons in California utilized 9 000 telemedicine videoconferences for prisoners, saving taxpayers $4 million
  • Tele-monitoring of chronic conditions reduces ER visits by 83%
  • Telemedicine companies such as DocChat can correlate specialist video consultations
  • The average wait-time for a doctor’s appointment in urban areas is 18.5 days
  • Over 17% of cell phone owners have used their phones to seek health advice


Telemedicine and Its Impact on Specialty Care

specialty care
Not only has telemedicine entirely changed and redefined medicine, it has also completely revolutionized medicine across all specialties. Specialists such as orthodontists, cardiothoracic surgeons, pediatricians and many others benefit from the use of telemedicine.

Telecommunication technologies such as two way video feed, smartphones, emails and many other applications that allow patients to access specialists in a particular field has made it extremely convenient for both doctors and patients. Not only does it boost ultimate convenience, telemedicine is also extremely cost effective.

Here are some ways that telemedicine has benefited the specialty care.

High Quality Treatment for Burn Patients

It is true that burn patients require physical presence of the doctor as they need to be resuscitated immediately. However, telemedicine can still be of immense help in such as case.

With the help of live video conferencing or emailing digital images of the burn injuries doctors can consult other specialists in the field and come up with a treatment procedure which can minimize the potential risks, thereby increasing the effectiveness of the treatment. This also reduces the need to transport burn patients from one hospital to another.

Furthermore, telemedicine is also convenient for patients as it allows follow-up appointment with their doctors without them having to make an unnecessary trip to the hospital. Thereby, saving the time of both, the specialist and the patient.

Numerous telemedicine programs have been introduced for burn patients who live in rural areas and do not have access to specialists. Thus, allowing them to connect with burn physicians, burn therapists, plastic surgery surgeons etc.

Access to Oncology Care for Rural Patients

Cancer requires diligent care and treatment because of the severe nature of the disease. However, many people from rural areas are particularly at risk of developing cancer compared to the ones in urban areas. Since they don’t have access to quality care and treatment, they are likely to go undiagnosed which makes them more vulnerable.

However, telemedicine programs for oncology have made it possible for people to get equitable care and treatment. Because of the distance and travel issue for rural patients, tele-oncology was introduced in 90s and has become quite mainstream today. Thereby, receding the barriers caused by geography. Televideo and various other telemedicine applications have made it possible for rural patients to seek treatment advice from oncologists. Once the patient agrees to the telemedicine treatment, the local nurse or physician is directed by the urban oncologist regarding the prognosis and treatment plan.

Telemedicine has indeed revolutionized the field of specialty care and is continuing to do so. Though there are multiple challenges like limited bandwidth, there is work going on to overcome them.