How does Telemedicine work?
Telemedicine is a healthcare access alternative that helps patients maintain a connection with medical professionals. It’s a virtual solution facilitated by video technology. Patients ask questions and describe their symptoms. Medical professionals consult, advise, and prescribe medications and treatment.
The difference is that it all takes place remotely. Patients never leave their homes or offices. Doctors consult from their medical facilities, offices, or wherever they are.
While remote medical care isn’t a new approach, recent social distancing mandates have made virtual healthcare strategies an important option. Patients get to “see” their doctors while maintaining compliance with statewide orders to stay at home.
How Telemedicine Works
Instead of going to their doctor’s office for an appointment, patients schedule a virtual visit instead. To complete their telemedicine visit, they need a digital device and an internet connection. In our technologically driven world, that’s no longer a hindrance.
Pew Research Statistics show that 96% of Americans own a cell phone and 81% own smartphones. As most phones have built-in Wi-Fi, it makes getting connected a relatively easy task. Those without smartphones or data plans have other connection options as long as they have access to an internet connection.
- Desktop Computer
- Laptop Computer
Patients connect with their doctor using a video option on their chosen digital device. Some medical providers allow on-demand emergency visits. When doctors prescribe medications via a telemedicine appointment, patients have mail and door-to-door delivery options.
The Benefits of Telemedicine
Telemedicine is a growing healthcare option. Up until now, only certain patients saw it as a viable option. A busy person could meet with their doctor with minimal disruption to their day. A chronically ill person could schedule regular visits without leaving home. A physically challenged person could avoid the difficulties inherent to wheelchair navigation.
As many people turn to telemedicine because they have no other choice, they will learn the benefits of the growing healthcare alternative.
- Immediate access to medical specialists
- More affordable doctor visits for uninsured patients
- No contact with contagious patients
- No transportation costs
- Easier access for aging seniors
- In-home privacy
There Are a Few Drawbacks
Telemedicine is a wonderful healthcare option but it doesn’t work for everyone. Those who try it because they have no other choice may decide it’s their preferred healthcare option. Because of inherent technological challenges, some won’t try it no matter what. Others won’t be able to try telemedicine because of additional challenges.
- Geographical restrictions to telemedicine access
- Not covered under some health plans
- Senior patient hesitance to use digital devices
- Limited or no internet access in some rural areas
- Required consultation timing for Chronic Care Management patients
Medicare’s geographical issues changed under the Federal government’s emergency Coronavirus spending bill. The bill is temporary and includes a September 20, 2020 end-date.
Contact Health Consultants Group
For more information about telemedicine, contact HCG (800) 367-2482.