Everything You Need to Know About Online Doctors
Many of us have pondered what it is like to have a consultation with an online doctor. Routine doctor’s appointments are crucial to maintaining great overall health, but the time and energy spent calling, scheduling, and waiting to see the doctor can keep us from attending the visit necessary to maintain our health and wellness. Using an online doctor to substitute for an in-person visit for those times when you just do not feel like leaving the house, or as one of many integrated pieces of your health care routine, can be incredibly beneficial.
Because online doctor visits are still relatively new, there is some understandable hesitancy about using this very valuable healthcare resource. As the world around us continues to change, especially in relation to public health, online doctor visits are becoming more of a necessity than ever before. As we try to limit our exposure to each other when we are feeling sick, online doctor appointments are quickly becoming the most effective way to eliminate the spread of viruses and bacteria among sick individuals.
As online medicine is still somewhat new, it makes sense that people would have many questions about how effective and safe it is as an alternative to the typical ways that we currently practice medicine and health care. The best way to determine if an online doctor is right for you is to educate yourself on what it means to consult with an online doctor. Using the information below as a beginner’s guide to online medicine can help kick-start your research!
Online Doctor’s Appointment vs. In-Person Visit
The most pressing question is, “How does an online doctor compare to a doctor that you would visit at the office?” They are actually very similar. Both provide safe, confidential, and quality care. You can be assured that your online doctor is going to treat your consultation with the same respect and care that your primary care physician shows during an office visit. Online doctors are required to meet the same legal and regulatory standards as those who practice at physical locations, such as clinics, offices, and hospitals. Also, the process of scheduling an appointment with an online doctor is very similar to setting an appointment at the doctor’s office—it just happens digitally!
While there are many similarities between online doctors and going to an office visit, there are a few differences as well. First and foremost, when consulting with an online doctor, everything regarding the consultation will occur digitally, whether through a call, chat, or text message. Your online doctor can still prescribe medication and perform exams and assessments. They just do it through the camera on your computer or phone. The ultimate difference is that one method requires you to go to a location, while the other allows you to receive health care at home or on the go.
How to Set Up an Appointment With an Online Doctor
Setting up an appointment with an online doctor works very much in the same way as scheduling an appointment at an office. Each telehealth platform differs in some ways regarding registration and arranging an appointment, but for the most part, they follow a standard system, not unlike anything you are already accustomed to. Referring to the steps listed below can provide a useful outline of how to get started with setting up an online doctor’s appointment.
- Before you begin your search, consult your healthcare provider and health insurance provider. They may be able to provide online doctor services, refer you to a telehealth provider within their network, or offer information on reputable and trustworthy telehealth platforms.
- If you are beginning your search without much information, make sure to only consider telehealth providers that require their attending physicians to be board-certified and licensed within their state. This will ensure that your online doctor is legally and safely providing medical care.
- Once you have found the online doctor service that is going to work best for you and your needs, you’ll need to register and create an account. This is usually free and creates a safe and convenient way to schedule appointments and access your information.
- This is not always required or the same for every provider, but you will probably have to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health and medical history. This is not unlike the forms you fill out at your primary care provider’s office and is used to help your online doctor establish a history to best address your reasons for scheduling the visit.
- Schedule your online doctor appointment! Once your forms are filled out, you are good to go!
The Benefits of Schedule an Online Doctor’s Appointment
There are many benefits to scheduling an online doctor’s appointment.
- Scheduling an appointment with a doctor on demand is quick! No more waiting on the phone while the person at the front desk checks the schedule. Digital appointments are as simple as filling out a request and clicking send!
- There is no more suffering through long waits. Not only are you not going to wait days, weeks, or maybe even months before seeing your doctor, but you also won’t have to suffer the long wait in the lobby. Most online doctors are available for consultations on the same day you book—some within minutes.
- You do not have to be around other sick people. Because you are meeting with your online doctor digitally and from the comfort of your own home, you are not putting yourself at any unnecessary risk of catching another patient’s illness.
- The associated cost tends to be less. Simply put, there is less overhead for online doctors, which means they get to keep costs low for patients!
The Concerns Associated With Using an Online Doctor
It’s natural to have a few concerns when considering booking your first online doctor appointment. Many of these concerns can be attributed to misinformation or misconceptions.
- The main concern is safety and privacy. Many fear that their sensitive and confidential information is not handled as carefully online and their records at their doctor’s office. This is understandable but not valid. Your online doctor legally has to follow all the same rules and regulations pertaining to patient confidentiality, HIPAA, and any other regulatory or legal parameters for medical doctors.
- There are many problems that an online doctor can’t treat. This is partially correct. Your online doctor can provide many services, exams, and treatment options for many conditions. However, certain circumstances require a physical exam, additional screenings, or blood work. Your online doctor can order labs if necessary or direct you to a facility that will complete a screening or in-person assessment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can my online doctor prescribe or refill my medication?
Your online doctor can prescribe or refill many different kinds of medication. Before issuing a prescription, your online doctor may require blood tests or additional screenings to ensure your safety and that the medication prescribed will be beneficial. Online doctors can prescribe antibiotics, birth control, creams, steroids, and many other different forms of medication. What they cannot prescribe are any controlled substances. Prescriptions for these medications require an in-person assessment.
How much does an online doctor’s visit cost?
Much like physical practices have varying pricing structures, so do online doctors and telehealth platforms. You can expect to either pay a flat rate or a rate based on the time you spent with the doctor or the nature of the visit. For example, mental health consultations are typically more expensive than a visit to diagnose and treat pink eye. For those with insurance, some telehealth appointments can be conducted without any out-of-pocket costs. Those with no insurance or an insurance plan that does not cover the entire cost of the visit can expect to pay an average of $75 for an office-type visit and more for visits that require a specialist.
Finding an Affordable Online Doctor You Can Trust is Easy with Telegra MD!
Telegra MD is a telehealth platform that provides quality and affordable health care for patients with or without insurance. Online doctors provide services for urgent but non-emergency situations, everyday health inquiries, dermatological needs, and mental health through therapy and psychiatry services. Telegra MD’s licensed and board-certified healthcare professionals are available 24/7 to diagnose and treat your condition, illness, injury, or mental health needs.
Those without insurance can be assured that the price they are paying is straightforward and devoid of any hidden fees. With services beginning at just $75, patients are charged a clearly displayed, flat rate. Those with insurance may be able to schedule an online doctor’s appointment for less, depending on how their plan contributes to online health services. Signing up is free and requires no obligation, and once your appointment is booked, most physicians are available to see you within 10–15 minutes! No more long calls, no more travel time, no more ridiculous wait!