Best Medicine Services
Telemedicine has become a prominent way for patients to receive care and over the last couple of years, this treatment method has only grown and improved. Telemedicine is healthcare services over telecommunications structures through conferencing software or over the phone. Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to seamlessly communicate with their patients without the need for in-patient visits.
Telemedicine is accessible through many different forms of communication and services that are provided. These methods include:
Interactive Telemedicine – These are the sessions that happen in real-time over the phone or through conferencing software.
Remote Monitoring – Patients are monitored in their homes through mobile devices to measure blood pressure, sugar levels, and more.
Asynchronous telemedicine – This allows providers to share patient information through telemedicine, such as lab results.
Send and Receive Messages – Patients can send and receive messages through telemedicine platforms.
Telemedicine Vs. Telehealth
These two terms are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences between the two. Telehealth is often used to describe technologies and services to provide patient care to improve the healthcare delivery system. Telemedicine uses communication software to provide services to a patient without an in-person visit. The two differ as telehealth is a broader term covering non-clinical services, provider training, administrative meetings, and clinical services. Telemedicine is only providing care and treatment through communication software exclusively.
Telemedicine offers patients a wide variety of health care, from primary care visits to specialized doctor visits. Telemedicine is helpful to monitor and track ongoing health issues easily and efficiently track the healing progress of patients. The services and conditions telemedicine can provide, and treat is:
Regular care visits
Lab tests and x-ray results
Care for recurring conditions such as migraines, asthma, or urinary tract infections
Treatment for skin conditions,
Management of prescriptions
Urgent care for colds, flu, stomach aches, coughs
Follow-up appointment visits.
Doctors can easily ask for certain information to make the visit and diagnosis smooth. Providers may require:
Images of wounds or up-close images of the body part in question
Documentation of issues such as a headache diary
Medical records that providers may keep at another providers office
Average Costs of Telemedicine
The costs of telemedicine can vary for each provider. The same goes for health insurance. Some health care systems offer telemedicine as part of their regular care services, which allows patients to pay based on their insurance rates or government reimbursement schedules.
Some telemedicine platforms partner with employers as an option for employees to use telemedicine in place of their regular health care. Employers encourage employees to use telemedicine in place of their insurance. The charge for those visits tends to be flat fees.
Medicaid covers telemedicine depending on the state's discretion, and most states have allowed for reimbursement for telemedicine care, and the coverage varies depending on the type of care needed.
Pros and Cons of Telemedicine
Telemedicine can benefit both health care providers and patients in both health care advantages and convenience. As telemedicine involves and integrates more available platforms, it continues to gain popularity. There are pros and cons of using telemedicine that patients should consider before deciding if they would like a telemedicine to visit from their provider.
Convenience – When patients use telemedicine, it saves them a trip to the doctor, saving them travel time and travel expenses. Sick people prefer not to leave the comfort of their bed, and telemedicine allows them to stay home. Telemedicine also provides the convenience of not finding childcare or taking time off from work.
Prevents the Spread of Infectious Diseases – Telemedicine provides the ability for sick patients to receive the care they need without having to visit a doctor's office and potentially infect people. Preventing the spread of infectious diseases helps prevent chronically ill, pregnant, elderly, or immunocompromised from becoming dangerously ill.
Better Health Assessments – With access to telemedicine in patients' homes, specialty providers can review the patient's home environment to identify aggregators for illnesses such as allergies. Mental health professionals can observe patients in their natural surrounds and visually see how patients take care of themselves in their homes.
Connect Easily with Family – When consulting doctors, sometimes they need access to other members of the patient's family who are allowed to speak on their behalf. With telemedicine, it's easier to contact these individuals no matter where they are located. The patient's family members can also conference these people into the call, and the patient can authorize them on the spot, saving time and having to wait weeks for follow-ups.
Coverage – Some insurances may not cover all telemedicine visits. Although the practice is growing and more insurance is beginning to protect it, patients should check before scheduling a telemedicine appointment.
Security – All technology runs the risk of being compromised. Telemedicine systems run the risk of being susceptible to hackers and breaches. Health care companies are among the highest risk to cyber security threats due to the nature of the information stored in the systems.
All Visits May Not Be Available through Telemedicine – not all visits will be available through telemedicine. There will be times when patients will need to go into the office to perform blood work, imagine, and diagnose. Some states do not allow prescription medications over the phone to require in-person visits.
How to Get Access to Telemedicine
Many providers have acquired the licensing needed to provide telemedicine appointments. Because of the benefits of telemedicine, more providers are moving to start providing telemedicine appointments. With Covid still a primary concern, telemedicine appointments are encouraged.
Getting access to telemedicine requires an internet connection and health insurance. Patients can access telemedicine through mobile devices. If individuals need assistance gaining access to health insurance to begin receiving care through telemedicine, there are resources available to help them get the care they need. Visit healthcare.gov for more information.
If individuals have health insurance but do not have internet access, there are programs to help find free or low-cost internet access. Lifeline is an income-based program that will allow for internet service at a low cost. Check eligibility at Lifeline.com.