The Best Telemedicine Companies
You may not have heard of telemedicine before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, after which the industry exploded in popularity due to strict social distancing guidelines and increased demand for accessible healthcare. However, telemedicine has been around for a long time, since the mid-1900s, and it has grown and improved significantly since then. In fact, it is a striking innovation in the American healthcare system.
Today, telemedicine is an affordable and viable healthcare option. Although it may not necessarily act as a replacement for your primary healthcare provider, telemedicine is a great option for treating minor or common ailments and symptoms. There’s a variety of telemedicine companies to choose from when you’re ready to start your remote healthcare journey, and it’s important that you choose the one that’s best for you and your family. When you’re considering which company to sign up with, there are several factors to consider, and you may want to understand better what telemedicine is and how it works.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telehealth technology originated during the late 1950s and was used originally to connect medical students to educational resources and professors. Quickly after, it became a tool used to connect patients to doctors virtually. In the beginning stages of telehealth, it was mainly utilized for rural patients or other people who were confined to their homes for one reason or another, such as the elderly. It also quickly became used to connect patients to specialized healthcare professionals whom they may not have local access to. After further innovation and advancements in videoconferencing technology, telemedicine has become an essential tool in the healthcare world.
The terms “telehealth” and “telemedicine” are oftentimes used interchangeably and, in general, mean the same thing; however, they do have technically different definitions. Telehealth refers to the broader use of technology, including for educational or informational purposes; it is not strictly clinical healthcare. Telemedicine is more specific to clinical services, which is direct patient health care. Put simply, telemedicine is any service or consultation that utilizes technology to connect patients and doctors. Telemedicine allows trained doctors to consult with patients from a distance, and they are able to evaluate, diagnose, and offer treatment solutions remotely. This completely changes the game of healthcare; patients don’t have to leave their houses to get attention from a doctor. Also, it’s more affordable than your average doctor’s office consultation or a visit to an urgent care facility or emergency room. Not to mention it is accessible to those who don’t have health insurance.
What To Look For In Telemedicine Companies
There are several factors to consider when you are debating which telemedicine provider to sign up with, and the right telemedicine company will depend on your personal needs and wants.
- User-friendly platform: Telemedicine is supposed to make your life easier, not harder, so it is important that you choose a provider that has an easy-to-use website and/or mobile app. Some telemedicine providers have a patient portal, where you can keep track of past appointments and prescriptions, which may be a useful feature if you plan to utilize telemedicine consistently.
- Specialty care: It may be beneficial to choose a telemedicine provider with specialist healthcare providers on their staff. In fact, telemedicine was originally created to connect doctors to people who may not be able to access specialized care, so if this is still your priority, you may want to double-check that your chosen telemedicine provider has qualified and expert doctors.
- Membership plans: Some telehealth providers may offer subscription options, membership, or family plans. For a monthly or annual fee, you will have several unique benefits, and the cost of each consultation may be discounted under a membership.
- Hours: Only a select few telemedicine companies are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Suppose you are considering telehealth because of its added convenience and accessibility. In that case, you will probably want to prioritize a company that has long hours of availability, so you can have confidence knowing that you will always be taken care of, no matter what time it is.
- Prescription medication: Not every telemedicine provider can write prescriptions following remote consultations, which are based on local and national regulations and legislation. Some telemedicine companies may be able to write certain prescriptions, but not for DEA-controlled substances such as Xanax and Adderall. To determine exactly what prescriptions a telehealth company can write, you should double-check their terms and guidelines.
Some of the Best Telemedicine Companies (and Why)
There are several amazing telemedicine companies to choose from when you’re searching for a telehealth provider. The following companies are well-established and have consistently been ranked highly. They are also trusted and utilized daily by hundreds of thousands of patients already.
Teladoc is known for being one of the first telemedicine companies to come to fruition, and it was founded back in 2002. From everyday care to mental and sexual health, Teladoc is open 24/7 to provide you with high-quality medical care. The Teladoc service can write prescriptions for necessary medications for pickup at your local pharmacy.
Teladoc will typically have immediate appointment availability, and their doctors are available via phone call, videoconferencing, the website, or their smartphone app. Without insurance, the prices of a consultation range from around $45 for a general visit up to $75 for a consultation with a dermatologist or other specialist.
Telegra MD is a well-known and trusted telehealth service. They are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all 365 days a year. Telegra MD has a network of expert physicians, all of whom have been practicing medicine for over 15 years. They offer services and treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions, including general aches, pinkeye, and sinus infections. They have specialists on staff, including mental health professionals who are available for counseling and support.
Depending on your insurance coverage, or if you are uninsured, the average cost of a consultation is ONLY $49. You can connect with the Telegra MD doctors on your smartphone, computer, or tablet through HIPAA-compliant and secure video conferencing technology.
PlushCare is another popular telehealth provider for patients who are insured and uninsured. PlushCare has options for a membership subscription and a family plan, which allow patients certain benefits, including online and mobile prescription renewal requests and free online messaging with your care team. Their membership option is priced monthly at $15/mo or yearly at $99/yr, although if you are uninsured, your first visit will cost $99.
PlushCare offers same-day appointments, where you can connect with their network of qualified online doctors via video chat on their mobile app or their website. If deemed necessary for treatment, their doctors offer prescription writing services and can call your prescription into your local pharmacy for pickup. From prescription medicine refills to treating colds and flu, PlushCare offers a variety of services.
Amwell, originally founded by two brothers under the name “American Well,” was created to break down barriers that have historically made healthcare inaccessible and to make healthcare an affordable and easy service. You can connect with doctors using Amwell’s online website and mobile application, which is available on both iPhone and Android. Amwell doctors are able to write prescriptions.
Amwell offers a wide variety of services, obviously including general medical consultations, but also including therapy, pediatrics, nutritionist consults, and mental health and therapy services. The cost of a visit at Amwell is $69 before insurance, although they do accept quite a few health insurance companies that will lower the price of a consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I have a telehealth consultation, do I talk to a real person?
Yes! The doctors who work for telemedicine companies are real, licensed, and board-certified physicians who are appropriately trained and able to provide healthcare services remotely. They are equally, if not more, qualified to diagnose and treat illnesses and conditions as a doctor you would visit in person.
Do telemedicine services accept insurance?
While this depends on which telemedicine company you choose, most telemedicine services accept major insurance providers. To determine if a telemedicine company accepts your insurance specifically, you should check with your insurance provider and the telemedicine website or mobile application.
So, What Is The Best Telemedicine Company?
We know that there’s an overwhelming number of options when it comes to choosing one provider out of the many telemedicine companies. You don’t want to risk choosing a website or app that will take your money without ever letting you speak with a real doctor or one that doesn’t hire trustworthy and certified healthcare professionals.
The Telegra MD staff is proud to be one of the most experienced in the business. Each doctor in our highly qualified network has had at least 15 years of experience in the medical field, and they have been thoroughly background-checked and trained in providing remote healthcare services for patients. We put our patients’ health and wellness as a top priority, providing high-quality and individualized care. Our doctors are friendly and helpful and are happy to answer any questions or concerns throughout your treatment.
Patients who do not have insurance can also benefit from these services. Telegra MD provides professionalism and value, ensuring that your health needs are taken care of at a low cost to you. It is easy and free to register and sign up with Telegra MD on our website.