Telemedicine is something that has been gaining a lot of traction over the past couple of years, but it has become extremely popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people are starting to call it a perfect fit for patients who can’t (or won’t) visit their doctors and for the providers alike.
But what is it? And how can it be useful during these trying times?
What is Telemedicine
In short, telemedicine is where you communicate with your doctor or primary care physician over long-distance communication. This has been occurring since at least 1950 through landline telephones, but is more common now due to video and audio communication being far more accessible.
Often, apps and online portals are used to make sure that the telecommunication is safe and secure. That way, you do not have to worry when mentioning, and even showing, your symptoms to your doctor. But it can also be done in other ways, such as assessing and monitoring a patient’s health status remotely through the use of ‘smart’ medical equipment.This frees up time and stress by allowing patients to get appointments and talk to their doctor without having to physically go into a clinic. With that said, if one is experiencing a heart attack, stroke, or any emergency situation, getting actual physical care at a hospital or critical care center would obviously be the top priority.
Adapting your clinic to Telemedicine
Why has Telemedicine been so important during the COVID-19 Pandemic?
We are currently in the middle of a global pandemic. The novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has swept across the globe and has caused millions of people to get sick, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide. The leading doctors and scientists in the world have suggested social distancing to help mitigate the risk of spreading the virus, and as a result, many doctors have stopped seeing most patients in the office unless it is an emergency.
As patients would like to talk to their doctor about smaller issues, or even routine medication refills, it is still important for them to be able to talk directly to their doctor, or nurse practitioner, without having to worry about getting sick themselves, or spreading the virus to others.
With budgets tightening, telemedicine may even be the less expensive option for routine care. Going to see your doctor can cost about $150, while an emergency room visit for something that isn’t serious can easily push the costs up to $1,200 dollars or more (depending on location). However, by comparison, a telemedicine appointment costs about half the cost of a typical visit to the doctor.More and more insurance providers are covering the costs now too. This helps many people who are currently restricted by their local, state, or CDC guidelines for social distancing to be able to still talk to their doctors and get care, without having to leave their homes. This is extremely important given that many states have “stay at home” or “safer at home” guidelines in place. It is also vital for people who may be immunocompromised and therefore at a higher to contract the virus due to various medical conditions.
More and more doctors and medically integrated practices are adapting to telemedicine, helping provide patients the care they need without adding the risk involved in going to a clinic or office.
Looking for answers in a time of great uncertainty? Be sure to check out our Daily Health Alerts. These informative webinars are designed to help guide your practice through the troubles waters of a global pandemic. Visit daily.amidoctors.com today!
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