What illnesses can be treated online by a doctor?

AS telemedicine becomes more popular you may be wondering about the illnesses that can be treated by it. The answer: Most of them. Once they are not emergent (in the process of coming into being or becoming prominent), most illnesses can receive an initial diagnosis or assessment by doctors over text, video, and audio calls.

In fact, statistics show that 90 per cent of the most common conditions seen in an urgent care setting can be treated online. Telemedicine can also assist with monitoring lifelong illnesses and ensuring you’re on top of your health. Keep reading to learn about six categories of illnesses that can be treated online and the illnesses for which you should seek in-person care.

Mental health treatment

The use of telemedicine for mental health treatment is extremely popular today. The first benefit is due, in part, to mental health treatment not requiring the same physical examinations as other medical fields. Therefore, it is easier to treat and work through symptoms simply by communication – whether by text, audio or video call. This form of treatment includes discussions of sensitive topics, and patients may feel at ease in having these sessions from the comfort and privacy of their homes. During the novel coronavirus pandemic patients who may have already received a psychological diagnosis have been easily able to continue treatment via telemedicine with their psychologists and psychiatrists.

Infectious illnesses and diseases

Since it offers you treatment from a private and remote location, it’s perfect for the treatment of highly infectious diseases or illnesses. Mild cases of COVID-19, influenza (flu), chickenpox, and even pink eye can all be assessed and treated remotely, without you putting your doctor or anyone else at risk during your commute or wait at the doctor’s office. You may instantly get a prescription to treat your symptoms so you can feel better faster, all from the comfort of your home.

Minor cuts, burns, and other skin conditions

Your dermatologist can assess minor cuts, scrapes, rashes, burns or any other skin conditions via telemedicine. Whether this is providing a photograph or showing your doctor live on the camera through video call, telemedicine is a convenient and efficient way of treating all kinds of skin conditions. Acne, eczema and even a diaper rash on your baby can all receive adequate treatment, whether through advice or a prescription offered remotely by your dermatologist.


Allergy season can flare up symptoms such as congestion, headaches, with itchy eyes and throat. You may find yourself questioning if these symptoms are due to a cold, flu, a sinus infection, or even COVID-19. Your doctor can diagnose and treat you through a series of questions done via telemedicine, eliminating the need to take time off and spend the day at the doctor’s office.

Chronic conditions

If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, remote patient monitoring can be a convenient way to track your vitals. With your vitals being recorded at home and put into the system, your health-care provider will be able to monitor when there is an abnormality for you to seek additional care. This will allow you to limit going to the doctor for regular check-ups and ensure you’re treated instantly when there’s an emergency.

Women’s health

Women tend to know their bodies well and are quick to identify when something is off, particularly with their vaginal health. Women can face recurring issues, including yeast infections, urinary tract infections, bacteria vaginosis, or sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea. Telemedicine offers a safe, private means of discussing women’s vaginal health with a gynaecologist and getting immediate treatment for any discomfort. It can also be a means of assessing their symptoms and if it may be something more serious that requires a physical examination.

What you should not treat with telemedicine

If you do experience any symptom that can be potentially life-threatening, do not rely on the services of telemedicine – instead, seek emergency care immediately. Some of these symptoms include anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction), signs of a stroke (such as one-sided numbing), signs of a heart attack (crippling chest pains and shortness of breath), a head injury of any kind, unexplained bleeding, or an injury caused by a traumatic event such as an accident. You will know your body best and be able to identify when there’s an emergency.

Telemedicine is innovative and serves many benefits to both the patient and health-care provider. While the above names a few medical conditions that can be treated via telemedicine, there are tons more non-emergent cases you can bring to your doctor remotely. Simply ensure the issues you are seeking treatment for can be easily treated via text, video and audio calls and you’ll be able to reap the benefits of this new technology.

Dr Ch Bowen, a digital health entrepreneur and family physician, is the CEO & founder of MDLink, a digital health company that provides telemedicine options. Check out the company’s website at www.theMDLink.com. You can contact him at drchebowen@themdlink.com.

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