Top Virtual Health Platforms of 2023 and How They Work

By Jared Levenson - Updated, Reviewed, and Fact-checked on September 4, 2023

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We’ve witnessed a significant shift in the healthcare landscape in recent years. With technology advancing rapidly, virtual health platforms have emerged as an essential tool for providing accessible, high-quality care. 

With a dedicated team of professionals with extensive experience in healthcare and mental health, the Online Mental Health Review Team is uniquely positioned to provide an informed perspective on virtual health platforms. 

These platforms connect patients with healthcare professionals through digital mediums, making healthcare more accessible and efficient.

But with so many options available, how do you choose the right one? To help you navigate this digital maze, we’ve compiled a list of the top virtual health platforms of 2023.

Let’s dive in!

What is a healthcare platform?

Virtual health care platform aims to cut wait times

Navigating the world of various healthcare systems can be overwhelming, but understanding the basics, like what a healthcare platform is, can empower you to make informed decisions about your health.

  • Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are digital versions of a patient’s paper charts, providing real-time and secure information accessible to authorized users.
  • Telemedicine Platforms allow healthcare professionals to evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients remotely using telecommunications technology.
  • Patient Portals: These online websites give patients 24-hour access to personal health information from anywhere with an internet connection.
  • Mobile Health Applications: These are used on smartphones and tablets to provide health-related services and information.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) Systems: These are used for therapeutic purposes, such as pain management and exposure therapy.
  • Wearable Devices: These track health and wellness data like heart rate and sleep patterns.

What are digital healthcare platforms?

Digital healthcare platforms are innovative tools that make mental health resources more accessible and access care more personalized.

  1. AI Health Assistants: AI-powered platforms that offer personalized health advice and symptom checking and can guide users to appropriate care. 
  2. Telemedicine Platforms: These online services connect patients with healthcare providers for virtual consultations. They offer convenience and accessibility, especially for those in remote areas. 
  3. Healthcare Apps: Mobile applications focused on health and wellness, ranging from symptom trackers to mindfulness and meditation apps, providing users with resources at their fingertips.
  4. Electronic Health Records (EHRs): Digital versions of a patient’s paper chart; EHRs provide real-time, patient-centered records accessible to authorized users. 
  5. Digital Therapeutics: These are evidence-based therapeutic interventions driven by high-quality software, often used to treat anxiety and depression. 
  6. Online Pharmacies: Digital platforms that enable prescription management and delivery, making medication acquisition more accessible and more convenient. 
  7. Health Informatics Systems: These systems collect, store, manage, and transmit information related to health services, aiding in efficient decision-making. 
  8. Virtual Reality (VR) Therapy: An emerging form of therapy that uses virtual reality technology to treat various mental health disorders. 

How does virtual healthcare help?

Here’s how this innovative approach to medical care is transforming lives.

  1. Accessibility: Virtual healthcare brings professional help to those in remote areas or those who may have difficulty leaving home, ensuring everyone has access to the care they need. 
  2. Convenience: With the ability to schedule appointments at suitable times and avoid travel, virtual healthcare fits seamlessly into your daily routine.
  3. Comfort: For many, discussing personal issues from the safety and comfort of their own space can lead to more open conversations and effective therapy
  4. Anonymity: Online platforms can provide anonymity that reduces stigma and encourages individuals to seek help. 
  5. Immediate Assistance: Some venues offer immediate assistance, which can be crucial during intense distress or emergencies. 
  6. Cost-Efficiency: Virtual healthcare can be more affordable by eliminating travel and reducing provider overhead costs. 
  7. Continuity of Care: Virtual healthcare allows consistent, ongoing contact with providers, improving long-term treatment outcomes. 

What is the difference between telehealth and virtual health?

  1. Scope of Services: Telehealth generally refers to a broader range of services, including non-clinical services like provider training, while virtual health usually focuses on clinical services. Source
  2. Technology Used: Telehealth often leverages telecommunications devices like phones and fax machines, whereas virtual health primarily uses digital platforms and software. 
  3. Accessibility: Both telehealth and virtual health aim to improve healthcare accessibility, but virtual health often emphasizes real-time, on-demand care. 
  4. Patient Interaction: Telehealth can include remote patient monitoring and store-and-forward technology, while virtual health typically involves live, two-way interactions between patients and providers. 
  5. Care Continuity: Virtual health is often associated with continuous care, integrating various health services for a cohesive patient experience, while telehealth can be more episodic. 

Top Telehealth and Virtual Health Platforms

  1. Zoom for Healthcare: An extension of the popular video conferencing tool, Zoom for Healthcare provides a secure platform for virtual consultations and group therapy sessions. Source
  2. Doxy. Me: Offering a simple, free solution for healthcare professionals, Doxy. I allow providers to meet with patients remotely through secure video calls. Source
  3. Amwell: With 24/7 availability, Amwell connects users to board-certified doctors for immediate care, from minor illnesses to chronic conditions. Source
  4. Teladoc: As one of the pioneers in telehealth, Teladoc offers comprehensive medical consultations, mental health services, and specialist visits. Source
  5. MDLive: MDLive provides various services, including therapy, psychiatry, and medical consultations, all from the comfort of home. Source
  6. HealthTap: HealthTap offers a unique service where users can ask health-related questions and receive answers from licensed doctors. Source
  7. Doctor On Demand: This platform provides immediate or scheduled consultations with doctors, psychologists, and other healthcare professionals. Source

What is an example of virtual care?

Taking care of your mental health can feel like a journey, but with the rise of virtual care, you’re not alone – here are some examples of how technology can bring professional help right to your doorstep.

  1. Telepsychiatry: This form of telemedicine uses video conferencing to provide psychiatric assessment and care remotely, connecting patients with qualified professionals without leaving home. 
  2. Virtual Therapy Sessions: Therapists and counselors offer one-on-one sessions via video calls, providing a comfortable and convenient environment for individuals to discuss their feelings and experiences. 
  3. Online Medical Consultations: Doctors can evaluate, diagnose, and treat patients using telecommunications technology, reducing the need for in-person visits. 
  4. Digital Health Apps: Mobile apps like Headspace or Calm provide guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and sleep aids to promote mental well-being.
  5. ePrescriptions: Physicians can send prescriptions directly to pharmacies electronically, making medication management more efficient and convenient. 
  6. Remote Patient Monitoring: Wearable devices or home monitoring equipment allow healthcare providers to track patients’ vitals and health data over time, enabling timely interventions if needed. 
  7. Online Support Groups: Virtual communities, like those on platforms such as 7 Cups, provide peer support through forums and group chats, fostering connection and shared experiences. 

Virtual Health Platforms Conclusion

Remember, while these platforms supplement traditional healthcare, they should not replace regular in-person check-ups, especially for complex health issues.

However, virtual therapy games in mental health are also becoming more popular in yet another example of how the field is rapidly changing.

As always, consult with a healthcare professional before deciding about your health.

With the right virtual health platform, you can take control of your health in a way that was impossible before. So why explore these platforms and see what they have to offer? Your health is worth it!

If You Are In Crisis

If you find yourself in an immediate crisis, getting help immediately is crucial. Online therapy appointments can sometimes involve a wait, and if there’s any risk to your health, safety, or others, it’s essential to act immediately. Don’t hesitate to dial 911 if you’re feeling an imminent threat. If you’re experiencing thoughts of self-harm, the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a dedicated resource available around the clock, reachable simply by dialing 988.

Furthermore, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) operates a National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357). This helpline offers free, confidential assistance 24/7, every day of the year, guiding individuals struggling with mental or substance use disorders towards treatment and providing valuable information. Remember, help is always just a phone call away.

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