From the familiar telephone consultation to experimental innovations like telesurgery, telemedicine spans a spectrum of technologies. But it has a lot of promise to improve health care access and outcomes.
Ask your insurer or employer if your coverage includes telemedicine. Then prepare for your first consult with a few tips.
People can see a doctor or health care practitioner without having to visit the clinic. They can also get a diagnosis and prescription from home. They can also check out how much a service costs, what specialty it specializes in and whether or not a person’s insurance company covers it.
Some physicians may choose to practice telemedicine for a few days a week or, in some cases, switch completely to virtual appointments. This can help cut operating costs and increase patient retention rates.
Many telemedicine services have mobile apps, which can be helpful for people who need to access their appointment information on the go. A person can also see how much a service costs, what kind of insurance it accepts and whether or not they offer prescriptions. They can then decide which telemedicine provider they want to use based on these criteria. In doing so, a person can make sure that the chosen service fits into their healthcare budget and their lifestyle.
While telehealth has many benefits for patients during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some concerns to consider. Patients and physicians may be at risk of infection from unprotected telehealth interactions, and a lack of staff training and access to technology can impede its adoption.
During the pandemic, telemedicine has been used to support in-person visits, reducing patient demand and helping health systems manage surges at facilities. However, it may not be sufficient to meet the full range of a patient’s clinical needs.
For example, telemedicine does not allow doctors to perform a physical exam, so it cannot help diagnose certain conditions. In addition, telemedicine can’t always prescribe medications, which requires blood and urine tests to confirm diagnosis and determine the correct dosage. In addition, a Peterson KFF study found that sizable shares of low-income and rural patients struggle to afford smartphones and reliable internet service. This can make it difficult for them to access telemedicine services.
The USA has some of the highest per-person healthcare costs in the world. However, telemedicine can help reduce those costs without compromising the level of care. Clinics can cut back on hiring more front desk representatives, renting out more office space and paying for more medical equipment by offering telemedicine consultations. This also helps to lower insurance coverage costs and improve long-term outcomes for patients.
Physicians can also save time when utilizing telemedicine for follow-up visits or check ins with chronic patients. They can also cut back on no-show or late appointment rates, which reduces administrative costs.
When choosing a telemedicine provider, it’s important to find one that offers a range of services and accepts your insurance. You should also make sure the provider will mail you any prescriptions you may need. It’s also a good idea to look at what types of specialists they offer and what type of healthcare they specialize in. This will ensure you can get the right healthcare you need.
For patients with a busy schedule, telemedicine can be very convenient. It eliminates the need to travel to a doctor’s office, or wait to be seen in crowded clinics. It also helps avoid missing work or sacrificing time with family and friends.
Patients can consult with their doctors remotely from a laptop or mobile phone with reliable internet access. They can ask questions, get prescription refills and see medical images and readings via a secure patient portal.
Using telemedicine to monitor chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease can reduce the need for overcrowded emergency room visits. It allows doctors to connect with their patients and capture real-time readings from home healthcare devices, so they can intervene if readings fall out of range. It also ensures that all records are updated and shared. This prevents medical errors and medication conflicts between different providers. Leading telemedicine companies help providers adopt a HIPAA-compliant telehealth solution that fits into existing workflows and improves care coordination.