As a kid when I would have some minor ailments like cold or runny nose, my mother would turn to my Grandmother for advice. My grandmother would then offer a home remedy made from the kitchen ingredients which would typically give me relief by next day.
In case of something little advanced like fever, my mother would take me to a friendly neighborhood uncle who would then open his homeopathic box of medicines and give medicine and also suggest what to eat and what not to. We would go to the doctor only for something serious; there was only one doctor for our small town.
Well the situation has not improved much; with 0.7 doctors per 1000 Indians the doctor to patient ratio is very low when compared to other countries like China (1.9), UK (2.8), USA (2.5) and Spain (4.9). I still miss my Grandmother’s home remedies and neighborhood uncle’s advice whenever I fall sick. There is nobody or no place where I can seek some general health related advice.
If I need recommendations on which restaurant to go to or which smart phone to buy, the reviews & suggestions are available online, these reviews are dependable & trustworthy because they have come from multiple people who have experienced it. After reading the reviews & discussions if there is still any doubt I can ask them in these online forums and a fellow person will answer it. An online forum for health-care in India can make the life of number of patients’ better, the way TripAdvisor has made the life of travelers easier. An online healthcare forum has multiple benefits.
Healthcare forums raise awareness about health disorders. A visit to a private hospital in India for a minor problem can set you back by Rs. 1800 (Consultation – Rs.500, Diagnostic Tests – Rs.1000 & Medicines – Rs.300) and the good government hospitals are always over crowded hence avoided by most. Hence people ignore the minor symptoms till it becomes so big that one has to get hospitalized to get treated. If only these symptoms were not ignored the big disasters could have been avoided. In the forum one can get advice on their medical condition from a fellow patient, which can help the patient to make an informed decision about visiting the doctor.
The forum acts as a support group and provides emotional support to patients suffering from chronic diseases like diabetes or life-threatening diseases like cancer. It gives patients access to coping strategies and the emotional support that doctors might not have the time to offer. Forum members share practical advice and encourage one another to deal with the daily challenges faced by those with chronic disease. Patients can get out of depression and get a sense of fulfillment as they evolve from needy support seekers to seasoned advice givers for others in need. The forum lets the patients take control of their own health and feel empowered.
An online forum offers anonymity to those who are suffering from stigmatizing disorders like AIDS or breast cancer; they find online forum a more welcoming venue to discuss sensitive issues. The anonymity allows the discussion of potentially embarrassing topics or otherwise taboo subjects, increasing the possibilities for self-disclosure, and encourages honesty and intimacy. Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Indian but it is still a taboo even in the cities and 60 per cent of the breast cancer cases are detected only in advance stages.
Not just the patients even their caregivers have special needs. They too require emotional support as stress and burnout are common. Online forums provide additional avenues of support to caregivers.
For a country like India which is home to more than 62 million diabetics and 2 million cancer patients, online forum is a need of the hour. RxQure.com
is a leading Indian healthcare forum for diabetes, cancer and a range of other diseases. With the increase in internet penetration & Indians adapting to smart phones, the mobile friendly RxQure.com is becoming the go to place for healthcare related advice in India. It gives you the opportunity to connect with people like you, share your experience, give and get support to improve your life and the lives of others; who know you might even discover your neighbourhood uncle in one of them.
Always cheerful, Ashim is a health-enthusiast. His expertise spans e-commerce, insurance and mobile App. He is currently based out of Bangalore, India. Ashim also blogs in http://blog.rxqure.com