09 August 2018 in Health
Technology is revolutionising healthcare - allowing you to access expert advice from wherever you are, or have medicines delivered straight to your home.
Unfortunately, there can be risks associated with the use of online pharmacies, telemedicine providers or condition management apps. The internet has no borders, and there is no internationally-recognised organisation certifying digital healthcare providers, which means that the digital healthcare market remains largely unregulated.
As a result, it can be hard to tell whether you are purchasing from a trustworthy provider, or engaging with someone who may lack the qualifications and expertise needed to provide a safe, high-quality service.
When you purchase prescription drugs online, there is a chance you could be sold medication that is out-of-date, diluted or fake. Worse, you may find that you accidently order unlicensed or unregulated medicines that have not been properly tested.
When you use an app on your smartphone to access treatment or advice, there’s also a risk you will engage with an organisation that lacks the accreditations, knowledge or skill needed to provide effective care. Apps claiming to offer such services as sight tests, or relief from tinnitus via your mobile phone should be backed by clinical trials or peer-reviewed research, but often this is not the case.
Of course, there are many fantastic services available, and more and more these are backed by clinical evidence, but how do you separate the ones that work from the gimmicks? Even if you know where to look for them, medical research papers can be dense and difficult to understand. More often than not, these studies make it very difficult for you to tell whether there is evidence to support the treatment that’s being offered, or whether you’d be better off waiting to see a doctor.
We think that’s a shame, because technology does have the potential to provide some truly groundbreaking treatment options - as long as we can find a reliable way to filter the good from the bad.
As services move online, so platforms are created to help customers to find, compare and decide on what is best for them. We can see this trend in the many apps and websites that now allow you to find the best restaurant, the most convenient accommodation, or the fastest transport options.
Here at Your.MD, we want to offer you the same convenience when searching for healthcare services. In today’s access economy, we believe you should have the ability to search for medical apps, services and medicines without worrying about whether you’re going to be sold substandard products, or offered ineffective care. To enable this, we’ve set about creating a rigorous vetting process and then invited leading healthcare services to apply to become our partners in our OneStop Health™ marketplace.
Our vetting process is in-depth and comprehensive. We look at everything from the credentials of individual staff members, right through to the provider’s internal processes and whether they comply with data privacy legislation. We also look for compliance with the standards set by local regulatory bodies, and device accreditation if the provider uses technology to deliver their service.
We test every service for ourselves, just as a customer would. Where relevant, our in-house medical team will also assess the research used to provide an evidence base for new treatment options, combing through clinical trials and research papers to verify that the service is effective, and based on good science.
In most cases, we spend between two and four weeks vetting a new provider. We also re-review all of the partners on OneStop™ Health once every six months to ensure that they are still providing the kind of service that you can rely on.
Providers that pass our rigorous vetting procedure are then awarded the ‘Your.MD Approved’ badge to signify the partnership, and listed on our OneStop™ Health marketplace so that it’s nice and easy for you to search for innovative healthcare solutions.
All of this hard work takes time and effort, but it means that you can trust any organisation that carries our badge of approval. It also means that you can explore the services on OneStop™ Health without worrying about whether the treatments are safe or reliable.
Every partner on OneStop™ Health has been assessed using our rigorous vetting procedure. This includes:
These services allow you to order prescription and non-prescription medicines online, whether for collection or for delivery straight to your door. Some online pharmacies also provide a digital consultation service too.
We pay particular attention to the way in which these providers verify your prescription, and also take good care to ensure that they’re compliant with the standards set by local regulatory bodies.
These platforms allow you to make appointments online, and check to see when you can next book an appointment with a doctor.
These services are a fantastic convenience, but it is important to ensure that they are safeguarding your information properly. Alongside our other criteria, we also pay particular attention to how they select which health care professionals you can book with and why.
These include websites and applications which are designed to help you monitor chronic illnesses, and generally include features like medication reminders, symptom tracking, information and support.
Condition management apps are carefully vetted to ensure that they are safe, provide good healthcare advice and have appropriate device accreditation if relevant. We also take great care to ensure that all of the condition management apps have had content created by appropriately qualified professionals and follow information governance standards.
These are typically websites which make it easy for you to get tested for an illness without visiting a doctor, or screen for certain conditions using software.
These services are vetted according to a rigorous set of criteria and often take the most time to assess. We always check to ensure that there is a good evidence base for the testing that they perform, and that counselling and support is offered where relevant.
These include organisations that offer online consultations, mobile health platforms or remote patient monitoring services.
These services generally focus on using mobile technology to deliver doctor-led services straight to your device. They reduce the need to travel, and remove problems around ease of access which makes them a great option for people that live remotely or have problems travelling to see a doctor. We check that all healthcare professionals have the appropriate qualifications and experience, as well as ensuring that various ‘red flag’ situations are handled appropriately.
There are many other services which seek to provide treatment via a computer, tablet or smartphone. As with all the services mentioned above, we pay particular attention to the evidence base for these treatment options, and only list them if they meet our rigorous criteria.
We created OneStop Health™ because we recognise both the incredible opportunities that technology brings to healthcare as well as the risks that can be associated with identifying safe and reliable services online.
Every service listed has been thoroughly reviewed by our in-house medical team so that you can browse our marketplace with the peace of mind that you deserve. Our team of doctors have also categorised every service so that if you use either of our Android or iOS applications you will also be recommended services direct from our Health A-Z library.
If you are interested in partnering with us, or have any suggestions about OneStop Health™ please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.