During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth visits grew more common and more readily available. Many people opted to visit their doctor through virtual visits or on the phone instead of in-person to reduce their risk of catching COVID, and physicians began using telehealth to pre-screen patients before seeing them in person. It became a safe and convenient way to see your physician without needing to leave your home, and it was a life saver for parents who might not want to take their child immediately to the doctor for a mild fever or sore throat.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is a way to safely and securely see a doctor online either virtually through a video platform or on your phone. It goes beyond telemedicine, too. Through telehealth, doctors’ have access to educational opportunities, and it offers better collaboration between specialists. It has shown to be beneficial for doctors’ work-life balance, especially during the worst times of the coronavirus pandemic.
Through telehealth, patients can be monitored for pre-existing conditions. They can be pre-screened for doctor’s visits before coming in person. Doctors can prescribe medication and follow-up after visits to check in on patients’ health and progress. All of this through simple phone or virtual face-to-face conversations.
How do I make a telehealth appointment?
In most cases, making a telehealth appointment is as easy as calling your doctor. Many hospitals and physicians’ offices have telehealth apps that they use to conduct visits and hold your medical information. Sometimes health insurance companies and corporate businesses offer access to telehealth apps that give you a cost-free opportunity to call a doctor for prescriptions for things like cold sores, allergies, cold-flu symptoms, and more. There are also many telehealth apps such as Doctor On Demand that offer low cost copay options, and in some cases could be free depending on your insurance.
What are the benefits of telehealth?
Imagine you wake up one morning with a slight fever and a sore throat. You’ve had these symptoms before and you don’t want to have to go see a doctor let alone pay for the visit, but the symptoms get worse. With telehealth, it’s a simple call or a brief moment of scheduling a virtual visit on an app on your phone to get the prescription or care that you need. The same is true for someone with pre-existing conditions. It’s also an option for mental health care.
Telehealth is convenient and it’s usually much cheaper than an in-person visit. It’s great for people who have limited access to quality health insurance, and it’s a great way to keep someone accountable for their health. Sometimes getting out of the house to see a health care provider is hard whether because of your work schedule or child-care. Being able to have your doctor on the phone, eliminates any reason to avoid prioritizing your health.
7 benefits of virtual doctor’s visits
- Virtual health care is convenient. It’s much easier to fit into your busy schedule, and you can avoid long wait times in doctor’s offices.
- You’re more likely to show up to your virtual appointment because you don’t need to find childcare, and you can have a virtual visit at work.
- Immunocompromised patients can avoid going to the doctor in person and risk coming into contact with other sick people.
- It allows for an easier time managing and monitoring chronic conditions. Instead of going in person on a weekly or monthly basis, those with chronic conditions can meet with their doctor virtually.
- Virtual health care is typically cheaper than in-person visits.
- Through telehealth, patient and doctor communication increases. Doctors have an easier time following-up with their patients with virtual visits.
- The ability to pre-screen patients planning to come to a physician’s office in-person limits the spread of infectious diseases.
Bonus tip for employers: Healthy workers can help to keep operating costs down and productivity high. Find out more about how you offer virtual healthcare through Included Health.
Alana Settle works as an educator and freelance writer in the Kansas City area where she lives with her wife and two kids. As a person who identifies as a non-binary lesbian, a mother, and a teacher, she understands first hand the challenges and rewards in learning to bridge our differences by choosing to communicate with compassion. You can find out more about her and her work at www.alanasettle.com.