In the last couple of years, telehealth has become a growing trend globally, especially in places with high traffic density. In an unexpected turn of events, the recent Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated its popularity as people are finding it increasingly difficult to step out of their homes without risking infection. Those who weren’t familiar and comfortable with the concept before, are now finding it’s more of a necessity than an option.
So if you’re part of the ‘no telehealth for me’ bandwagon, then you undoubtedly have a lot of questions in mind about telehealth. This article will break down the basics of telehealth so that you can make informed decisions about how and where to seek medical help online.
1. What is Telehealth
While the concept of telehealth isn’t exactly new, the way doctors implement it has changed drastically over the years. Initially, telehealth was limited to telephone calls but now extends to video-conferences, streaming media, prerecorded educational materials, and more. Originally telehealth started out as an experimental service in hospitals in the 1960s and 1970s.
According to the Health Resources Services Administration, telehealth is the “the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.”
As you can surmise, the prime difference between telehealth and traditional healthcare is direct human interaction. Aside from this difference, another important distinction is that telehealth deals with a broader scope of remote healthcare services. This means a lot of experimental healthcare innovations also fall under the category of telehealth. Such as long-distance medicine administration like glucose and inhalers.
2. What Can You Do With Online Healthcare?
Although online healthcare is not applicable and useful for advanced medical diagnosis and treatments, it still works very well for primary and intermediate healthcare issues. Treatment and diagnosis for common medical conditions like fever, flu, sprained limbs, or a toothache, can be given through telehealth.
Some of the more advanced and useful aspects of its applications include cancer treatment, coagulation testing, patient monitoring, automated insulin delivery, and more. With most people having access to smartphones and the internet, direct video consultation with doctors and going through ehealth learning materials can happen at any time from anywhere. Patient-specific apps can also be downloaded to monitor your health conditions and transmit the monitored data to your provider’s database in real-time.
Another significant advantage that the prevalence of telehealth has is that doctors now have an easier time educating their patients and the general populace. Many other services are still in experimental stages, but hopefully, the current pandemic situation will help accelerate telehealth services.
3. Telehealth is Not Expensive
If you’re under the impression that telehealth is expensive, you would be wrong. Telehealth services are often cheaper and, in some instances, more accessible than getting a hospital and clinic appointment thanks to the widespread availability of the internet.
Typical consultation charges of doctors start from $20 and can go up as high as $200 depending on the doctor’s specialization and experience. On the other hand, telehealth services have subscription fees, starting from as low as $0.15 a month.
- Good Doctors Offer Services Online
Most of the best doctors out there have already been offering telehealth services. The benefits that telehealth services bring to doctors are also immense, so it should come as no surprise. Telehealth allows good doctors to manage and interact with more patients without the added stress of finishing an appointment as more patients wait outside.
New and inexperienced doctors also benefit from telehealth since they’re more internet savvy than their predecessors and can use different platforms to grow their practice. If you’re looking for the top-end medical professional, here are the best online doctors tested and ranked by Top10.
5. Insurance Covers Telehealth Services
Just like traditional healthcare, insurance plans cover online healthcare services. Most insurance companies provide telehealth options in their medical insurance policies, which makes it sensible to use telehealth services. Telehealth insurance plans are primarily coupled with private medical insurance policies.
Telehealth is Becoming the New Norm
With social distancing in place, remote medical healthcare via telehealth makes more sense than ever. But since verification is a bit difficult online, you need to be careful whose medical services you’re enlisting in your time of need. If done right, you will find that receiving healthcare online is easy and preferable to traditional doctor visits.