See A Doctor Online and Experience the Benefits of Telemedicine
COVID-19 has changed how we live in dramatic ways—the way we greet each other, the way we work, and the way we access healthcare, to name a noteworthy few. Some of the positive changes will persist long after COVID goes away because they are innovations with potential beyond this crisis. The ability to see a doctor online rather than in person is one of the changes that are revolutionizing life as we know it. No longer do we have to take time off work or wait days for an appointment when we are sick. We don’t have to risk catching another illness when visiting a doctor’s office. Now you can see a doctor online whenever it fits into your schedule, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from the safety and comfort of your home. Accessing healthcare has never been faster or more convenient.
Telemedicine is Here to Stay
“Telemedicine” refers to access to healthcare through various technologies—video, a secure patient portal, or a phone. A videoconferencing platform like Skype or FaceTime is often used to see a doctor online. If you have internet access and a computer or smartphone, you are ready to experience the benefits that telemedicine has to offer.
“Telehealth” is another term you may hear that encompasses telemedicine services. Telehealth is the use of electronic technologies to support healthcare services, such as administrative and provider training. Telemedicine, on the other hand, only includes clinic care.
When you see a doctor online, proceed as you would in a physical office. Describe your concerns and be prepared to show your doctor any relevant physical symptoms. You can expect a diagnosis and any prescriptions to be sent electronically to your pharmacy of choice. Be sure to have your pharmacy’s phone number and address handy because the doctor will request this information if medication is warranted. You can also expect a short wait time; typically, a doctor will be with you in approximately 20 minutes.
During the pandemic, telemedicine gained broad approval from the public, the medical community, and insurance companies due to its demonstrated safety, efficiency, and convenience. 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 Can I See A Doctor Online For?
You can see a doctor online for any condition that is not life-threatening and does not require hands-on care (such as an x-ray or blood test). If you suspect you are in crisis and need emergency medical attention, do not hesitate to call 911. As the field of telemedicine grows, so does its usefulness in a variety of circumstances.
A broad range of acute illnesses can be treated online. So can certain chronic diseases. The following list is just a sampling of the common ailments effectively treated online:
- Colds, Flu, Cough
- Pink Eye
- Sinus and Respiratory Infections
- Headaches & Migraines
- Asthma and Allergies
- Urinary Tract Infections
- Rashes, Acne
- General Aches and Pains
- Erectile Dysfunction
This list is by no means exhaustive. Aside from acute illnesses, many chronic conditions can also be managed online. For example, readings from medical devices (like those used for heart disease) can be monitored remotely. Hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, and certain gastrointestinal disorders are a few of the chronic conditions effectively managed online.
Telemedicine is also a popular treatment method for mental health disorders. When compared to regular visits, online visits make it easier for a psychiatrist to diagnose, prescribe, or manage medication. Licensed mental health counselors provide therapy whenever you need it, in the privacy of your home.
If you choose a reputable telemedicine provider, you can be sure the doctors who care for you are board-certified and licensed to practice in your state. Many specialists are often available, including internists, pediatricians, primary care physicians, dermatologists, and psychiatrists.
But How Do I Know I’m Seeing a Real Doctor?
Many of us are uncompromising when it comes to quality healthcare. If you decide to see a doctor online, you want to be sure to see a legitimate, board-certified doctor who is appropriately licensed to prescribe in your state. Make sure you are using a reputable telemedicine provider, such as Telegra MD. All the doctors at Telegra MD have had their backgrounds checked to make sure they have the right training and licenses to work in your state.
Can I Afford to See a Doctor Online?
The cost of a telemedicine visit is much more affordable than you might think, with or without insurance. If you have insurance coverage, an online doctor visit may very well be covered. Insurance companies are embracing telemedicine in a big way due to its efficiency and quality of care. Medicare may also reimburse you. The five biggest insurers (Humana, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cigna, United Healthcare, and Aetna) are now covering at least some online doctor visits, depending on the plan you’ve enrolled in. If you have health insurance, it would be a good idea to call your provider ahead of seeing a doctor online to determine exactly what your responsibility will be.
But maybe you don’t have insurance, or your plan won’t cover an online visit. What then? Even without insurance coverage, the cost of seeing a doctor online is very reasonable, especially when you consider the unrivaled convenience of 24/7/365 patient access.
The uninsured can usually see a doctor online for approximately $50, depending on the specialist needed. By comparison, a 2014 study by Dale H. Yamamoto indicates that the average cost of an in-person visit, without insurance coverage, ranges from $136 to $176. This price is more than double the cost of an online visit. And in-person visits do not provide 24-hour access outside the emergency room. The speed and convenience alone of a virtual visit make the cost worth it. There is no other scenario where you can see a doctor anywhere, anytime, all from the comfort and safety of home.
The benefit to those without insurance does not end there. People without coverage (or if your plan is not accepted) often have to deal with being refused an appointment. The 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 either openly due to the lack of coverage or were given other reasons (e.g., “not accepting new patients”).
Considering the unsurpassed access and convenience, seeing an online doctor is well worth the costs. Don’t put off seeing a doctor because of insurance concerns. Take care of your health first, so you are well enough to take care of the other priorities in your life.
Is My Privacy Protected When I See a Doctor Online?
Patient privacy is a legal right for everyone, no matter their insurance status. We are all protected under the HIPAA Privacy Rule (HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA says that all healthcare providers, whether they work in person or online, must follow the same legal rules. You can read up on the HIPAA Privacy Rule at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website, www.hhs.gov.
When you see a doctor online, make sure you are dealing with a reputable provider who will use a HIPAA-compliant platform capable of safeguarding your personal health information to the high standards imposed by the federal government. A password-protected, secure patient portal should also be available to communicate test results and any other sensitive information.
See a Doctor Online Now!
Did another migraine stop you in your tracks on a Saturday evening? Is your child home from school with a sore throat? Were you on vacation when a bout of Montezuma’s Revenge threatened to ruin your fun? Now you know you can see a doctor online quickly and at an affordable cost. It doesn’t matter what time of day or night- register to get started.
The first step is to connect with a reputable online provider like Telegra MD. The network of doctors available on Telegra MD are all board-certified and vetted using the American Medical Association and National Physician Database to ensure they are appropriately credentialed and licensed to practice in your state. Choose a specialist from fields such as internal medicine, psychiatry, dermatology, pediatrics, and emergency medicine, and be prepared to be seen within 15 minutes, unless you choose to schedule a visit for another time convenient for you.
Consultations through Telegra MD can cost anywhere from $0 to $82, depending on whether or not you have insurance and which specialist you choose. You can see a doctor online anytime because Telegra MD has availability 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year! Now there is no reason to avoid seeing a doctor due to concerns like missing work or long wait times.