Not only has the recent pandemic changed the way people interact with family, friends, and co-workers, but it has also transformed the way people receive health care and assessment. Thankfully, technology can still bridge the gap to the way individuals receive the medical attention they need. Most applications that allow doctors to interact with patients require access to laptops, tablets, smart devices, and some connection to the internet. With that in mind, here are five things to consider to determine if a telehealth visit will work for you.
1. Appointment or Video Visit?
While a telehealth visit could potentially lower both you and your physician’s risk of contracting COVID-19, it may still be essential to schedule an in-person appointment depending on your needs. So, how do you determine if a video call or appointment is needed? According to Mayo Clinic, most telehealth calls can address a broad range of minor to moderate individual needs. Some of these include:
· Prenatal Evaluations
· Counseling and telehealth occupational therapy
· Quick Diagnosis for sinus infections or rashes
· Diabetes Management
Emergent care requires immediate medical attention. Therefore a video call would not be sufficient. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians president, Dr. Gary Grey, patients should get prompt medical care if they feel the situation can’t wait.
2. Is Your Video Call Covered by Insurance?
Since video healthcare appointments are relatively new to the industry, you may want to check with your insurance provider to determine if the visit is covered. Each plan is different, and even if your current policy doesn’t include video medicine, many providers are expanding access to individuals and families. However, recent legislation in the U.S. waived restrictions on telemedicine to increase patient access to medical attention and care.
3. Do You Have the Right Technology?
The benefits of telehealth video calls and online assessment are maximized when you prepare for your online appointment in advance. Since a video call is similar to an in-person visit, to get the most out of your consultation, you should make sure all of your technology is working correctly. Many medical practices and hospitals have individualized software that you will need to download to your device before your appointment. A webcam is also essential for your video appointment. If your camera isn’t working, then you will need to make other arrangements. It’s also probably a good idea to find a quiet space in your home so your call won’t be interrupted.
4. Are Video Appointments Secure?
Medical records and visits are still highly secure, even online. Hospitals and medical practices around the country go to great lengths to keep medical information private and protected. Emails, screen-sharing and other activity must be encrypted, meaning they are protected and secure. A password will also likely be required to begin your online session.
If you or someone you know is at high risk for contracting COVID-19, scheduling an online appointment may be a good idea. Before you call your healthcare provider, make sure your insurance will cover the call and that your symptoms don’t require an in-person visit. It’s also essential to have properly functioning equipment and a secure internet connection.