Have you considered telehealth services but didn’t know much about it? Today, we will explain how the concept of telemedicine works for millions of people.
All people today worry about the spread of germs and conditions. From viral infections to the common cold to bacterial disease, it’s a genuine concern. Washing your hands and sanitizing anytime you touch something may not be enough to keep you protected.
Since microscopic toxins live in the saliva, you can become infected by merely walking into a grocery store. The biggest problem is going to your doctor for help. Recent technology now brings telehealth services directly to you at home. Sometimes, it’s better to see the doctor without ever stepping foot out of your home.
How Dangerous Is Your Doctor’s Appointment?
Most people find a physician they like, and they stick with them over the years. These facilities try their best to make sure that they clean and sanitize after each patient. However, some things are beyond their control.
Remember, most people that go to the doctor’s office are sick. While some will be there to get medication refills or a B12 shot, the majority are there because they are ill. Some illnesses won’t affect you, but there are some germs people carry that can kill you.
Take, for instance, call gram-negative rods. These are the bacteria that cause conditions like MRSA and pneumonia. The problem is that most of these germs are resistant to antibiotics.
You can also encounter gram-positive cocci. Just touching the door to enter the examination room can infect you with staph, strep, or E. coli infections. You can pick up these bacteria by merely using a pen to fill out your paperwork too.
A study showed that the pen at the doctor’s office has more bacteria than a public toilet seat. The problem is that when you are sick, your immune system is down. You’re not able to fight off these foreign invaders like you do when your body is in top shape.
So with all the germs that you come in contact with on a routine visit, you can see why so many experts are pushing for telehealth visits.
What Is Telemedicine?
Telehealth services have been around for many years, though they have been sluggish to get off the ground. Dr. Phillip McGraw and his son started a service known as Doctor’s on Demand back in 2012. Since that date, many other online health services have joined this revolution.
You can sit in the comfort of your home and see your doctor. You must have a smartphone or a computer that has a webcam, so you can see and communicate with the telemedicine physician. Some other services use an app that allows you to chat with your doctor.
During this recent pandemic, you can see a physician and not worry about being infected from something much worse. Most major clinics have rescheduled all non-essential appointments and are urging patients who need medication refills or other nonemergent help to use online medical services.
Who Can Benefit from Telehealth?
Telehealth services are fantastic for people that can’t get out of the home. Many elderly or those with disabilities might ignore their medical needs because it’s such a big hassle to get out of the house and go to a center. By using the power of technology, it allows people to get their medical needs prompt attention.
By its nature, receiving health care via telemedicine is minimal. You can’t be treated for things that require emergency room services. If you’re having chest pains, then you will need to see a physician that can treat you immediately.
However, there are many things that an on-demand doctor can do for you. If you have a sore throat, cough, headache, urinary tract infection, or other minor irritation, then they can prescribe a medication to get you on the road to recovery.
What Is A Computer Doctor Visit Like?
It may be unnerving for some to think of going to the doctor on the internet. Keep in mind that online medicine is still somewhat new to many, so there is a learning curve. You will start by selecting the provider that you want to use.
There are numerous telemedicine providers that you can utilize. If you are a cash-paying customer with no insurance, then you will want the one that has the best reviews and the lowest price. Consequently, with the recent concern about the spread of viral infections, even Medicaid and Medicare are providing services for free through certain providers.
The Interview Process
You will start by going through a series of questions. You will identify if the company takes your insurance. If they take your coverage, they will tell you how much it’s going to cost. Once the cost is established, you will need to render payment. These services only take credit or debit cards, and you won’t be able to use an e-check.
After the payment, you will be taken through a series of questions so that they can determine if they can help you. They will urge you to go to the emergency room if they believe that your needs are beyond their scope. The fantastic thing about these services is that they checked your symptoms using real-time data to see what is probable.
A Computer-Based Determination
They check your symptoms with those of thousands of others complaining about the same type of symptoms. For instance, if you have a cough issue, then they will say that you could have a common cold, respiratory infection, or be suffering from asthma. However, gathering this big data becomes imperative in helping them to make an informed decision quickly.
The computer will prejudge your condition to give the physician a guide. This process can be compared to seeing the nurse before you see the doctor. After you go through this series, then you will talk to the doctor of medicine.
Your Doctor’s Appointment
When the doctor steps into their virtual office, they will review all the data collected during the questionnaire. If you are on a live webcam, the physician can see and chat with you. Though they are limited in their abilities, it’s easy to establish somethings by seeing you on camera.
If your telemedicine physician uses a chat service, then they will ask you to send pictures. These pictures help cover them legally for writing prescriptions. For instance, if you have a sore throat, they will want to see how bad the throat area is swelled.
They will look for yellow or white patches as well as intense swelling that may cut off breathing. If your throat is constricted to the point where your airway is compromised, then they need you to go to the emergency room rather than treating through telemedicine.
Also, you will need to take a real-time picture of yourself before they can prescribe any medications unless you’re on a webcam. They need to make sure the person that they are prescribing to is the person that they see in this session.
The prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy of your choice, which you also established during the questionnaire. Most services will check back with you in a week to make sure that you are doing okay or to see if you need additional help.
Doctor Visits During Peak Germ Seasons
If you cannot use telehealth services, then you will need to go the traditional route of seeing a clinic or emergency room doctor. The current stay-home restrictions have made these routine visits seem like something out of a science fiction movie.
When you pull up at your primary care doctor or the local walk-in clinic, they will come out in hazmat suits asking questions before allowing you to enter the building. They may only let the patient go inside due to the heightened risk that is involved for those who aren’t sick.
Don’t be alarmed if you feel that you are being treated like someone with the plague. All these protocols are in place to protect everyone. If they think that you might be infected with any illness, then they will whisk you to a room where you will be isolated from anyone else waiting to see a doctor.
They will test you for the flu or other infections. Finally, they will confirm your diagnosis and do any other required tests.
Many experts believe that the emergence of this new viral infection was what society needed to usher in the telehealth movement. Since people have now been forced to see doctors from video chats, it’s breaking the ice. Many would have never chosen to do this method of physician visit as its impersonal and highly abnormal.
However, we see the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience. Telemedicine doctors can see more patients when they are web-based, and they are not exposed to the germs they would be if they were seeing 20 plus people and those that came with them.
If you or a loved one are suffering from some ailment, it’s best to check out a telehealth doctor instead of visiting a room packed with sick people who may expose you to worse conditions.