A Remote Doctors Visit May Be the Safest and Most Convenient Option
Advancements in technology continue to make life easier for all of us, and innovations in healthcare are no exception. COVID-19 has wreaked a lot of havoc in our lives, but it has also been the catalyst for some positive changes—as the saying goes, ‘necessity is the mother of invention.’ To prevent the spread of the virus, improvements in technology have made remote doctor visits commonplace. Now it is possible to see the doctor without ever leaving home, any time of day or night! Access is virtually unlimited, with doctors available remotely 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Waiting days to see the doctor and trudging to his office is old school. Today, you can see the doctor whenever or wherever you need to. All that’s required to get started is internet access, a computer, a laptop, or a smartphone.
Telemedicine is Having its Moment
Telemedicine refers to the access to medical care remotely, through electronic means (such as a videoconference, secure patient portal, or phone). Most of the time, a remote doctor’s visit takes place on a platform like Skype or FaceTime. “Telehealth” is a broad term that includes telemedicine as well as all services that help people stay healthy.
Telemedicine has been a critical resource during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the concern around virus transmission. No one wants to risk going to the doctor’s office to treat a simple, everyday illness when there is the potential to catch something much worse. After months of successful remote doctor visits, the technology has proven itself safe, fast, convenient, and affordable. COVID-19 may have helped introduce telemedicine into the mainstream, but it is here to stay because of the myriad of benefits it has to offer.
What Does a Remote Doctors Visit Look Like?
Engaging with your doctor remotely is not all that different from seeing him or her in person. One difference you can expect is a short wait time; typically, an online doctor sees you within 20 minutes. You will describe your symptoms as usual, and the doctor may ask to see any physical manifestations of illness, such as swelling or a rash, which is why videoconference is the preferred delivery method. You will receive a diagnosis and a prescription, if appropriate. Be sure to have your pharmacy’s phone number and address handy because the doctor will request this information if medication is warranted. Prescriptions are electronically transmitted to your preferred pharmacy.
Can a Remote Doctors Visit Treat Anything?
Telemedicine is effective for treating common illnesses that are easily identifiable and treatable. However, it is not appropriate for life-threatening medical emergencies. Do not hesitate to call 911 in a crisis situation or if you have any doubts. Also, keep in mind that illnesses or injuries requiring x-rays or blood work would, of course, be handled in person. Otherwise, a remote doctor’s visit is a safe, fast, and convenient way to access care for many acute illnesses and even some chronic conditions. The following common ailments are easily treated remotely:
- Colds and Flu
- Sinus and Respiratory Infections
- General Aches & Pains
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Fevers and Diarrhea
- Allergies and Asthma
- Headache and Migraines
- Erectile Dysfunction
This is just a sampling of the conditions that can be treated remotely. As the field of telemedicine grows, so does its application in a variety of circumstances. A range of specialists is available to choose from, including dermatologists, pediatricians, internists, and family medicine practitioners. Suffering from acne or an itchy rash? No problem—a remote doctor’s visit with a board-certified dermatologist will take care of it. Your child wakes up at midnight with a bad cough? Grab your computer and immediately call the pediatrician for guidance. It’s really that easy.
Mental health is another category suitable for a remote doctor’s visit. Psychiatrists are available to provide a diagnosis and medication management, while licensed mental health counselors are available for therapy, all from the privacy of your own home.
Certain chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or cancer, can also be managed online. Readings from medical devices can be monitored remotely. If you suffer from a chronic disease, juggling work and frequent doctor visits can become a hassle. A remote doctor’s visit makes it easy to fit these appointments into your schedule. Weekends, early morning, or late evening appointments are not a problem.
Telemedicine is not going to replace the traditional office visit, but it is a new option offering a level of convenience unmatched by urgent care or any other walk-in service. The ability to schedule a remote doctor’s visit encourages people to take better care of their health because it is so convenient and easy to do so. COVID-19 has no doubt caused everyone a lot of grief, but it has introduced a new standard of care—telemedicine—into the mainstream.
How Do I Know I’m Seeing a Legitimate Doctor?
A remote doctor’s visit is clearly the safest option when it comes to avoiding exposure to other germs, and with 24/7/365 access, it is undeniably convenient. But what about quality? If you connect with a reputable telemedicine provider such as Telegra MD, you can be sure you are seeing board-certified doctors and specialists who are licensed to practice in your state. If you want to double-check a doctor’s credentials, you can do so by visiting the Federation of State Medical Boards and clicking on the “Find a Doctor” tab at the top of the screen. For doctor reviews, go to heathgrades.com or vitals.com.
Is A Remote Doctors Visit Affordable?
With or without insurance, you can see a doctor online without paying a small fortune. Before you schedule your first remote doctor’s visit, it would be a good idea to call your insurer and check on your coverage. As COVID-19 made online visits popular, if not necessary, insurers came to recognize the value telemedicine offers in terms of cost and efficiency. Presently, the five biggest insurers—Humana, Cigna, Aetna, United Healthcare, and Blue Cross/Blue Shield — all offer at least some coverage for remote doctor visits, depending on the plan you’ve selected. Medicare may reimburse you.
But if you don’t have insurance or your plan does not cover remote visits, the cost is reasonable, especially when compared to a traditional in-person visit. A 2017 Health Affairs study estimated the average cost of an in-person visit at $146. A remote doctor’s visit can cost you less than half that, depending on your selected specialist and whether you have insurance. If you choose a reputable provider such as Telegra MD, a one-time visit for a common illness typically costs $49, or you can choose to become a member for as little as $10 a month.
Furthermore, you don’t have to be worried about being turned away. It often is difficult to find a medical practice willing to schedule you if you are uninsured or your plan isn’t accepted. A Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted a year-long study ending in 2013, which found that 20% of uninsured people were denied appointments because of a lack of insurance or were given other reasons, such as “not accepting new patients.”
With remote doctor visits, you are guaranteed an appointment regardless of insurance status. One-time visits typically run between $0-$82, depending on whether you have coverage and what specialist you choose to see.
What About My Privacy?
Keeping your health information secure is a legal right, protected under the HIPAA Privacy Rule. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a remote doctor’s visit or an in-person visit, healthcare providers are subject to the same legal standards for patient privacy.
If you choose a reputable telemedicine practice, your data will be safeguarded through HIPAA-compliant platforms and encrypted patient portals. Remote doctors’ visits are just as safe as a traditional office visits.
Register for a Remote Doctors’ Visit Today!
Scheduling a remote doctor’s visit is easy, but you want to ensure you are engaging a reputable telemedicine provider. Telegra MD uses a HIPAA-compliant platform to ensure patient safety and offers a broad selection of board-certified doctors. Telegra MD runs background checks on all of their doctors through the American Medical Association and the National Physician Database.
All you need to do is register on the Telegra MD site, choose a health practitioner from the broad array of available specialists, and schedule your visit immediately or at a more convenient time. Telegra MD offers board-certified internists, family practitioners, mental health professionals, dermatopathologists, and more on their site.
The cost of consultations through Telegra MD ranges from $0—$82, depending on whether you have insurance coverage and the specialist you’ve selected. You can schedule a remote doctor’s visit anytime because Telegra MD has availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year!