Since quarantine, social distancing, and the closure and now slow re-opening of businesses – including healthcare businesses – due to COVID-19, “telehealth” has stepped into the spotlight as one of the best delivery care options available in the healthcare industry. Although telehealth and telemedicine aren’t necessarily new, you’ve probably noticed an increase in telehealth marketing lately, as it has become less of a “nice to have” and more of a necessity for healthcare systems, doctors and patients.
Telehealth is finally having its moment borne out of necessity. The swift rise of COVID-19 forced these technologies and care delivery systems to be used more and more. People’s views on whether they would prefer to meet with a doctor face-to-face versus meet virtually have changed; they used to feel more comfortable meeting in-office, but with today’s worries, they are feeling safer meeting via telehealth instead. More and more individuals have come to recognize the benefits of telehealth, especially during this time.
But telehealth is still new for many patients, which means having to navigate some unchartered territory. Discover why telehealth is a good option, as well as why and how you can take advantage of these new, virtual appointments.
Telehealth is safer for patients and providers during COVID-19 and beyond
We’re all social distancing, and now more and more we are practicing “medical distancing” thanks to telemedicine and telehealth.
Using telehealth rather than visiting a doctor’s office during this pandemic helps patients avoid becoming a carrier and distributor of the virus. By not gathering in a small waiting room in the doctor’s office, because we are using telehealth, we help prevent the virus from spreading from person to person.
Even after all the quarantining and business closures are over, telehealth and telemedicine are great options for patients with underlying medical conditions or who are feeling like they may have a sickness that can spread to other patients. It also provides an option for those who are experiencing mild symptoms and are able to recover at home from coronavirus to be able to have regular doctor visits without exposing others, instead of ignoring symptoms and skipping the doctor for fear of possibly infecting others.
This is an especially safer option for the more vulnerable or at-risk populations, like those over 60. With telehealth, a patient can receive routine care via a telehealth visit which frees up critical medical staff and equipment for those who may become seriously ill.
Discover how you can use telehealth
There’s never been a better time to start engaging with telehealth for your healthcare needs. If you have insurance, find out if your plan has a telehealth option. Make sure to check thoroughly, as this is becoming increasingly more popular and plans may have added in benefits that you didn’t know about before.
You can also look online, as many well-known national companies offer telehealth for a fixed fee. When searching online, use the following search phrases: “telemedicine companies in the U.S.,” “online doctor appointment” and “telemedicine appointment.” These search terms should bring up the most helpful sites to inform you on how you can start using telehealth.
Properly prepare for your telehealth appointment
This is a new process for many of us, and you may not know what to expect for your first telehealth visit. But there are a few best practices and tips you can follow to make the most out of both your and the doctor’s time during the telehealth visit.
First, there are a few things to prepare before even getting on the call. First, write down all of your symptoms and all medicine you have taken. Think: have you had a fever? For how long? What other possible symptoms are you feeling? Include any information that you think is relevant, and also be ready to discuss routine questions about your medical history
While on the call, make sure to keep the conversation centered around your symptoms. Call volumes for telehealth have increased since the pandemic, so the faster you can receive care, the faster the clinician can help the next patient – which there are many of right now.
Start using telehealth for your health needs
Just as people are using video chatting services like Zoom, FaceTime, GoToMeeting, and more to talk with friends and family, telehealth introduces a new and safe way to still take care of your health while also being mindful of others. Telehealth may have been pushed into the spotlight because of COVID-19, but it is evident that patients are adapting and accepting new ways to visit their physicians. The future of delivering care has arrived via telemedicine.