Living through this pandemic has made it quite evident that access to healthcare has shifted and the availability of online services has become more present. From my perspective, I see the benefits of having immediate access to one’s healthcare needs. Banerjee et al. (2020) discussed the connection between the pandemic and suicide rates and that rates could be lower if there was increased access to crisis services. I work in mental health and I have seen first hand how having more accessible services for therapy and mental health services is much needed at this time.
The pros of having increased availability would be the clients’ ability to play a larger part in their healthcare and perhaps have a better understanding of what they are experiencing. Tan and Goonawardene (2017) found people to be more involved in their own decisions related to their healthcare. Cons could be people having too much information and that increasing their fear around illness and perhaps added pressure on clinicians when clients come to them with concerns they have found online. Tan and Goonawardene (2017) noted the necessity for adaptation of communication strategies with the evolution of healthcare availability online.
Of course there are various risks with having healthcare everywhere, just as there is with anything online. I feel the greatest risk could be credibility in the information found online and especially with social media. Benetoli et al. (2019) found the drawbacks to the availability of healthcare online was information overload, concerns with credibility, and wasting time, among other things.
Banerjee, D., Kosagisharaf, J. R., & Rao, T. S. (2020). ‘The dual pandemic’of suicide and COVID-19: A biopsychosocial narrative of risks and prevention. Psychiatry research, 113577. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113577
Benetoli, A., Chen, T. F., & Aslani, P. (2019). Consumer perceptions of using social media for health purposes: Benefits and drawbacks. Health Informatics Journal, 25(4), 1661–1674. https://doi.org/10.1177/1460458218796664
Tan, S. S. L., & Goonawardene, N. (2017). Internet health information seeking and the patient-physician relationship: a systematic review. Journal of medical Internet research, 19(1), e9.