We are living in extraordinary times. But, it's not all bad news. You've probably heard the phrase, "necessity is the mother of invention." It's especially true that medical necessity, driven by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, is the mother of healthcare transformation. Telehealth is one solution working to revolutionize how people worldwide receive timely, effective, and safe access to quality care.
Coronavirus is responsible, in large part, for the rapid adoption of telehealth, or virtual care, by both patients and providers. Leading healthcare experts believe it can help slow the spread of the virus by limiting patient and provider exposure to illness and offering rapid triage for patients in distress.
Now, more than ever, it's in your best interest to understand the on-demand care available, the benefits, and how you can get the most out of virtual care.
The New England Journal of Medicine defines telehealth as "the delivery of health care, health education, and health information services via remote technologies." For the most part, this technological advancement in care takes place using video conferencing over the Internet.
You can participate by using a personal computer with a webcam, or a smart mobile device (phone or tablet) with a built-in video camera. This way, you connect to providers from the safety and convenience of your home or any location outside a doctor's office or hospital.
There is a seemingly endless list of virtual services available to the savvy patient. A few of the most popular include primary care, prescription management, mental health counseling, care for urgent conditions like bladder or ear infection, and preventive health screenings. There is even a health organization offering a telehealth screening for Coronavirus.
You may already recognize several of the significant advantages of remote care. Below are the top 6 benefits you'll receive with your first telehealth appointment:
Before you dive into the pool of virtual providers, take a minute to identify the features that matter most to you. Compare costs, patient ratings, and ease of use. It's also a good idea to check with your health insurance plan. They will help you identify the telehealth services and providers covered under your benefits. You may be surprised at your expanding options.
Here are a few of the providers leading the way in telehealth:
Selecting a provider is just the first step in ensuring a successful experience. Here are a few tips for success.
Whether you're an experienced telehealth patient or a novice, it's easy to get connected. All you need to get started is a smartphone, tablet, or computer with a microphone and camera. Next, follow these easy steps:
Before your visit:
During your visit:
The tremendous challenges facing healthcare today, while overwhelming, are driving positive transformation. According to analysts at Forrester Research, virtual healthcare interactions are on track to top 1 billion by year's end.
If you're looking for a safe, convenient, and cost-effective way to access care, telehealth may be the best solution for you.