👋 How Can We Help Make Health Care Better?
The thought of driving to a doctor’s office and sitting in a crowded waiting room seems less than appealing to many of us, especially during COVID-19. Fortunately, there’s an alternative to in-person visits that is quickly becoming more mainstream: telehealth.
Telehealth, or telemedicine as it’s also known, remotely connects patients with healthcare providers in real-time via video, telephone, app, or online portal. A convenient and sometimes faster way to access care, telehealth also accommodates the needs of patients who prefer to remain socially distanced. Because of these benefits, telemedicine is growing in popularity. In fact, according to research conducted by Health Affairs, telehealth visits accounted for around 30% of total outpatient visits during the pandemic1.
How to Use Telehealth
Virtually anyone with an internet-enabled smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer can take advantage of telehealth to receive basic healthcare services from the comfort of home. Telehealth visits are most ideal for minor health concerns and conditions that don’t require an in-person visit. Using video, photos, and interview questions, a medical professional can often get all the information they need to diagnose and determine treatment remotely.
If you plan on using telemedicine or have a telehealth appointment scheduled, here are a few simple tips to help you make the most of your time — before, during, and after the visit.
Get Set Up
Make sure you have a reliable internet connection with enough broadband to handle video if you plan to do a video consultation. You will also need a decent smartphone, tablet, or computer, and a good camera so that any images you share with your provider are clear.
It is a good idea to test your microphone and camera in advance to avoid any technical issues during your appointment. Finally, if you are using a phone, tablet, laptop, make sure it is fully charged.
Make Your Appointment
Your provider will likely have a patient portal or app that allows you to make telehealth appointments, and will usually send you a text or email alert around 10 minutes before your scheduled visit. Make sure you add your appointment to your calendar so you don’t forget. You may also be asked to digitally sign HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) documentation and other consent forms.
Protect Your Privacy
Ask your provider about the steps they’re taking to ensure your privacy. If you need a password to access a patient portal and sign into your telehealth visit, make sure it’s a strong one.
During the Telehealth Visit
Find a quiet spot with good lighting so your doctor can see and hear you clearly, without disruptions or distractions. Make sure your provider can see your head and shoulders, and place the device on a stable surface to avoid shaking and movement.
You’ll also want to have enough uncluttered space to stand, turn, walk around, and do any other movements your provider might ask you to perform to help with the diagnosis.
Prepare Your Questions
Bring a prepared list of questions and concerns as well as medications you’re currently taking to your telehealth appointment. That way you’ll be sure to cover everything you want to during the visit.
After Your Visit
Based on your provider’s assessment during your telehealth visit, they may feel confident in a diagnosis and will prescribe a course of treatment and/or prescription medication during or shortly after your appointment.
If the provider determines that more evaluation is needed, they may request that you come into the office in person or complete in-person screenings, imaging such as X-rays, and/or lab tests. In cases where immediate care is advised, your provider may ask you to go to an urgent care center or emergency room.
Choose the Right Insurance
Not all health insurance plans cover telemedicine, and the type of telehealth coverage may vary from plan to plan. Some health plans, however, are embracing telehealth as a way to improve access to care while also helping keep costs low.
If you’re not sure whether your current health plan covers telemedicine, or are looking for health insurance that offers more telehealth options, contact SureCo at (800) 467-4898. We’ll help you find a health plan that meets your needs with greater flexibility, convenience, and savings. Continue to keep up with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Healthcare 101, Health Care Guides, Health Insurance Plans