What You Need to Know About Virtual Doctor
You may have heard some buzz recently surrounding telehealth, and some of your friends or family may have even had virtual doctor consultations already, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, when more people are staying home and socially distancing from other people. Now, telehealth services are widely available and provide a viable and effective alternative to a traditional doctor’s office visit. Before beginning your telemedicine journey, learn a little more about what virtual doctors do and how they can help you and your family’s medical needs. There are several positive benefits and considerations when making an online healthcare consultation, and this guide is here to help you determine if telemedicine is the right option.
What is a Virtual Doctor?
A virtual doctor may sound like a fake, robot doctor, but they are actually real humans who are licensed and certified healthcare providers. Online doctors perform live, face-to-face medical services and treatments over the internet, using a smartphone or computer. It’s kind of like a virtual house call—you can connect one-on-one with a doctor, but from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Online medical providers are typically trained and certified specifically in virtual healthcare treatment. This means that they have gone through intensive and thorough training to be equipped and ready to practice virtual medicine and diagnose medical conditions through video calls. Virtual doctors are able to handle a variety of situations and offer diverse services. However, exact services and treatments will vary depending on which telehealth provider you choose.
Typically, the general range of services that a virtual doctor offers includes:
- Refilling consistent prescriptions and managing chronic conditions that require routine checkups
- Prescribing new medications, although their ability to do this varies based on local and state legislation and regulations. Online doctors cannot prescribe medications such as Adderall or Xanax
- Follow-up appointments after something like surgery or birth
- Counseling services for mental health concerns
- Educational and Informational sessions, such as prenatal care or asthma inhaler use
- Options for specialty care, with access to doctors all over the country
- General health screenings
- Diagnosing and treating common conditions and illnesses, such as the cold, the flu, rashes, insect bites, and allergies
- Diagnosing and treating minor skin concerns, such as rosacea, acne, and warts
How Does a Virtual Doctor Visit Work?
A virtual doctor’s consultation is actually quite similar to an in-person doctor’s visit!
In order to schedule an appointment, most telehealth platforms will require you to create an account or sign up with your insurance and personal information. After you do this, all you have to do is schedule a time that works best for you. Depending on which website you are using, you will probably be asked to answer several medical questions, including your relevant medical history and your current medical concerns. This will allow the virtual doctor to receive the appropriate information and context to accurately diagnose your symptoms and suggest the appropriate treatment route. Before the appointment, check that your video technology is functioning properly, and be prepared to discuss the timeline of your symptoms, your medical history, and the name and dosage of any medications you are taking currently.
Once it is time for your scheduled virtual consultation, follow the instructions given by the telehealth provider to be connected to a doctor via secure and live video-calling technology. You will be able to see and hear a certified medical professional and discuss your current symptoms and any relevant medical conditions. The doctor may ask some more questions, and you should always be honest and detailed when discussing your medical concerns during a virtual consultation. If you have medical tools such as a scale and a thermometer, the doctor may ask you to measure your own vital signs, like weight and temperature. If your medical situation requires prescription medication that is not a controlled substance, a virtual doctor can most likely write the necessary prescription to be picked up at a local pharmacy of your choice or even delivered to your door.
The details and suggested treatment will be documented by the doctor and available on your virtual health website, and the information will only be available for you and your doctor(s) to see. Always ensure that your chosen telehealth provider uses a safe and secure platform that protects your privacy and data.
Why Choose a Virtual Doctor Over an In-Person Visit?
A virtual doctor is undeniably a convenient option, for more reasons than one. The main one is convenience and comfort because you wait at home and avoid those crowded doctor’s or emergency room waiting rooms. Some telemedicine providers are also open 24/7, and many also offer immediate appointment availability, so you don’t have to wait for something to open up at your local doctor’s office. As opposed to an in-person appointment, a virtual appointment can happen whenever and wherever, whether you don’t want to leave your bed or you’re on the go and can’t see your regular primary care provider.
Virtual doctors are also incredibly accessible for those who may not want to go into the doctor’s office physically, such as patients with PTSD, the elderly, or patients with a new baby. If you live in a rural area and don’t have access to adequate healthcare or the specialty care you require for your unique medical concerns, telehealth is also a great option. Virtual appointments are also a more private option than physically visiting a doctor and are a fast and full-service solution.
Many patients will feel like virtual doctors are more focused on them than physical visits, which some complain are rushed and depersonalized. Telehealth services typically operate under a patient-centered model, and because of the ease and convenience of telemedicine, patients will feel like all their questions and concerns are answered and discussed. And it is faster and easier than an in-person exam, where you may have to check in at a front desk, wait around, and see several nurses.
You should always see an in-person doctor if you have complex concerns or need diagnostic labs and imaging. If your medical concern requires a detailed physical exam, it may be best to visit a professional medical office. Virtual doctors are not meant to replace your primary care physician, and they also are not appropriate in life-threatening or emergency situations. If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, seek medical help immediately or dial 911.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need insurance to see a virtual doctor?
No! There are multiple telehealth providers that do not require insurance, in fact, several do not even accept insurance. Anyone can make an account and schedule an appointment to see a doctor online, but the flat fee for a consultation will probably be more expensive if you do not have insurance or employer coverage. Luckily, most insurance providers do offer coverage for telehealth services, so you may be able to schedule a virtual doctor’s consultation for free! Check your insurance coverage and telehealth provider before scheduling an appointment to determine what the cost will be for you.
What do I need to see a doctor virtually?
It is easy to see a virtual doctor, all you need is a stable internet connection and video access through a smartphone, tablet, or computer. If you are using an application on your smartphone, you need to download the app. And, if you have insurance, you may want to have your insurance card close by to provide that information. Other than that, your virtual doctor is waiting for you, just a few clicks away!
How much does it cost to see a virtual doctor?
This will vary greatly depending on which telehealth provider you choose, your insurance coverage plan, and your specific medical concerns. Consultations may be free, but if you do not have insurance, they can cost anywhere from $10 – $250+. Virtual therapy appointments addressing mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and panic disorders will most likely be more expensive. Check with your insurance provider and the telemedicine website to determine exactly how much your virtual doctor consultation will cost.
Where to Find Hundreds of Professional, Qualified Virtual Doctors
Don’t let the complicated and painful process of scheduling an in-person doctor’s appointment stop you from getting the medical treatment that you need. If you are experiencing a common, non-emergency health condition or have minor medical concerns, scheduling a consultation with a virtual doctor is the right solution for you.
If this is your first time scheduling a telehealth appointment, you may be overwhelmed choosing from the different providers. Consider signing up with Telegra MD, a trustworthy and professional telemedicine service. The network of Telegra MD doctors, dermatologists, pediatricians, and therapists has been carefully selected and has over 15 years of experience. They are board-certified and licensed with no history of malpractice. User-friendly and affordable, Telegra MD is the best option out there.
The Telegra MD healthcare providers are friendly and caring and offer treatment for over 50 minor illnesses and concerns. You can have confidence knowing that they will take care of you and your family’s health.