by Bruce Walker
In a time when healthcare costs are rising substantially and access to a medical professional isn’t always easy, people are utilizing online publications to determine what ailment they may have and how to treat it. Others, meanwhile, may not want to dole out cash for a simple blood type test, diabetes examination or even a urinary tract infection assessment for a dog.
As two percent of Google search queries consist of health research, such as symptoms, illnesses, history, and treatments, health experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the trends of self-diagnosing. Medical professionals have been questioning the safety and success rate of such conduct.
There are various websites that cater to this market, such as WebMD.com, YourDiagnosis.com, FamilyDoctor.org and Medline Plus, which offer in-depth information for thousands of diseases and sicknesses. Industry leaders and even patients agree that if something is seriously the matter then they should head on over to a clinic. However, if it’s heartburn, a cold, or a headache, websites like the aforementioned may prove to be cost-effective and efficient (heck, even put everyone’s mind at ease instead of thinking about the worst possible outcomes).
A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project discovered that 41 percent of respondents who had searched online for details regarding their medical condition had it later validated by a physician. This figure is compared to 18 percent who had said the doctors disagreed with the evaluation.
One website has begun to combine the benefits of visiting a health clinic and the usefulness of online medical information services. TestCountry, established in 2001, is looking at “making life easier” by offering visitors a lot of different health kits, medical tests, products, supplies, and free information packs. One way to describe TestCountry is that it’s a pharmacy, health clinic, retailer and medical directory all in one.
The founders wanted to design a system that enhances and increases direct-to-patient technology-based solutions as antidotes to the growing number of issues affecting the healthcare system, whether it is wait times, not being able to see a doctor, or the soaring costs.
Visitors and prospective clients to the San Diego, California-based website can immediately see its extensive categories of products and services, such as pregnancy tests, steroid abuse testing kits, indoor air quality test kits, blood cholesterol levels testing services and much more.
With these healthcare products being offered, the website founders explain that patients can receive timely, affordable, accurate and confidential health information through the means of swift and convenient laboratory-based testing elucidations. TestCountry can be used by individuals and entities. For instance, if a parent wants to test his or her child for substance abuse discreetly, then he or she can do so with a test. Meanwhile, an employer may want to initiate drug screenings among potential employees.
For those concerned about the validity of its service, TestCountry is a member of the Drug and Industry Association, National Defense Industry Association and Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. It also maintains a national and international base of clients that work in many sectors, like manufacturing, retail, and transportation.