How Telemedicine Can Help You: Talk to a Doctor Online Today
Have you been avoiding the doctor’s office? Do you hate squeezing a healthcare appointment into your busy day, but you have to work around your doctor’s schedule? Maybe you’re done dealing with nosy people in the crowded waiting rooms of medical offices. Well, lucky for you, there is an alternative to going to visit a doctor in person. Instead, you can try out telemedicine, which will connect you in real-time and enable you to talk to a doctor online from the comfort of your own home. Whether you talk to a virtual doctor via videoconferencing, a phone call, or a chat, they will be able to provide a variety of healthcare services remotely.
Telemedicine, Telehealth, and Online Doctors
The terms telemedicine and telehealth are oftentimes used interchangeably, although they mean slightly different things. Telehealth is a broader term for the facilitation of health services via telecommunication technology, including health information services, medical care, and educational sessions. Telemedicine more specifically refers to a patient-doctor consultation and the diagnosis and treatment of patients using remote technologies. These services were originally invented to give people living in rural areas or people who were home-bound access to quality healthcare.
Today, modern technology has made it so that anybody can benefit from the ease and convenience of telemedicine. All you need to talk to a doctor online is a stable connection to a Wi-Fi network and your smartphone, computer, or tablet. You also may want to find a private and quiet place to have your consultation with the online doctor. Online doctors (also known as virtual doctors) are real, licensed, and certified doctors who have been trained to diagnose and treat medical conditions remotely using telecommunications technology.
The exact services offered by a telehealth website or app will vary from provider to provider, however, generally, the services offered by online doctors include:
- Routine follow-up and check-in appointments, after surgery, childbirth, etc.
- Management for chronic disease or chronic conditions
- General consultation to treat common cold, flu, allergies, etc.
- Mental health services, including treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD
- Remote patient monitoring (also known as RPM)
- Written doctor’s or sick notes for work or school
The Benefits of Talking to an Online Doctor
Skip the pain and stress of hoping you can get a walk-in at your local urgent care or scheduling appointments at a doctor’s office, scheduling time and travel to get there, and waiting for a rushed doctor to see you. There are many reasons to use telemedicine as an alternative to an in-person consultation. Especially if you are being extra cautious about your personal health and avoiding interactions with potentially contagious strangers, talking to a doctor online means that you don’t have to leave the comfort, privacy, and safety of your own home. Or, if you are away from home or have a very busy schedule, telemedicine is a great and quick alternative to an in-person visit to a doctor’s office. Because you don’t have to travel to an office and sit in a waiting room, you will have more time left to take care of other important things on your to-do list.
The convenience of talking to a doctor virtually is unmatched. There are multiple telehealth services that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year and that always have immediate appointments available, which is not the case for most doctor’s offices. When you utilize telemedicine technology, you can be connected within minutes to a doctor who will thoroughly assess your health and help you feel better and healthier. Patients will oftentimes even feel like a virtual doctor answers more of their questions and provides more individualized medical care than an in-person doctor might. And the cost of a virtual visit with a doctor is significantly less than that of an in-office doctor’s visit. With appointments costing as little as $20–$30, or even free depending on your insurance provider, telemedicine is a more cost-effective option than the average $150 cost of a visit to an actual doctor’s office.
How to Talk to a Doctor Online
It is quite easy to set up a consultation to talk to a doctor online about your non-emergency medical concerns and conditions. If you are experiencing a life-threatening or emergency medical condition, such as a heart attack or stroke, you should consult with a doctor in person as soon as possible. Online doctors are also not meant to be a replacement for your primary care provider. Instead, they are meant to be a supplemental option for minor and common ailments that don’t require an in-person consultation. The exact process of scheduling a remote appointment or virtual visit with an online doctor will vary from provider to provider, but it is typically a straightforward and easy process.
There are a couple of telehealth providers that do not require you to sign up or join. Most services, however, will ask you to create an account or sign up on their website or mobile app in order to schedule a consultation to talk to a doctor. When you are signing up, you may be asked to fill out information about you and your health, as well as your insurance information if you have an insurance provider and your family’s medical history. In general, though, the signup process should be pretty painless.
When scheduling an appointment, you may be able to choose how you want to connect remotely with a virtual doctor. You can talk to a doctor online via text, email, online live chat, phone, and video; although, if you want a prescription medication, you may be required to have a video consultation instead of a voice-only phone call depending on local legislation and the telehealth provider’s regulations. If you utilize the text or online chat option to talk to a doctor, they may ask you to send photos or answer several questions about your symptoms, medical history, and any medications you are taking or have taken in the past. It may also be useful to have any personal medical instruments close by during your consultation, such as a scale and thermometer, to give the doctor an idea of what your vital statistics are.
When the time comes for your appointment, follow the provided instructions to access the private and secure platform where you will be able to talk to a doctor online. This ensures that your personal information, and the details discussed during your one-on-one visit with the doctor, remain private. During your consultation, the doctor will review all of your symptoms and information to determine an appropriate diagnosis and treatment plan. If deemed necessary and if possible, they will also be able to write you an online prescription to be sent to your local pharmacy or even delivered directly to your front door. Online doctors cannot prescribe certain medications, including Adderall, Xanax, Ritalin, sleep medications, intramuscular injectables, and other DEA-controlled substances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe to talk to a doctor online?
Absolutely! The doctors you talk to online are equally qualified, if not more so, than the ones you might find in a doctor’s office. However, you should always be cautious, especially when it comes to live chats that claim to be “free,” because you may not be connected with a real doctor. Ensure that the telehealth provider you choose has doctors who have been background-checked and that it uses a HIPAA-compliant and secure platform.
How much does it cost to talk to a doctor online?
This depends on a lot of different things, such as your insurance company, the telehealth service, and the kind and length of consultation you need. For example, consultations about mental health concerns will be longer and more expensive than a 15-minute general consultation for allergies.
Do I need insurance to talk to a doctor online?
No, not necessarily, although this depends on your chosen telemedicine provider. Some will only accept patients that have insurance, some will accept patients with and without insurance, and some will not accept any insurance. Double-check with your telehealth provider to determine exactly what their insurance policy is and to figure out if your insurance coverage is accepted if you do have insurance.
Talk to A Doctor Online Right Now!
You can be connected to a doctor instantly if you sign up with Telegra MD. We know that there are countless options when it comes to telemedicine service providers online, and that’s why Telegra MD focuses on providing the best quality of healthcare that we can. With hundreds of board-certified doctors, pediatricians, dermatologists, therapists, and other specialists, you can connect with a friendly and compassionate expert medical professional in a matter of minutes.
Telegra MD offers services for over 50 common and minor concerns and conditions, so you can have peace of mind knowing that our network of experienced doctors can help you and your loved ones whenever something goes wrong. And it’s a more affordable option than going to a doctor’s office.
Don’t put your own health on the back burner because you’re too busy or can’t leave your house. Create an account at Telegra MD and schedule a virtual consultation at a time that fits into your schedule.