Healthcare providers have been offering remote services for years, which have allowed patients to receive healthcare from the comfort of their own homes. Before the recent advancements in technology, these remote services were done over landline phones. Now patients can see their doctors at their office using various online platforms, including Zoom and Skype. So what exactly does telemedicine entail?
Using telemedicine, you can discuss symptoms, medical issues, receive a diagnosis, learn treatment options, and get prescriptions. There are a few common types of telemedicine which include:
- Interactive Medicine: This involved a physician and patient communicating in real-time.
- Remote Patient Monitoring: This gives caregivers the ability to monitor specific patients who have medical equipment that collects information like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and more.
- Store and Forward: This type of telemedicine allows providers to share their patient’s information with other healthcare specialists and professionals.
While they sound the same, there are a few critical differences between telemedicine and telehealth. Telemedicine, as stated by the World Health Organization, is “healing from a distance.” You receive treatment without an appointment or visiting the office. Telehealth uses electronic information to support long-distance clinical healthcare, education, and administrative activities. It improves patient care and physician education rather than providing a service. It involves scheduling appointments, medical education continuation, and training for physicians.
When should you use telemedicine? Telemedicine is not for emergencies. Anything that requires urgent, primary care, you should go to a doctor in-person. However, telemedicine is for straight-forward questions and issues, and any follow-up consults. It also can be helpful with psychotherapy and teledermatology. Some examples of straight-forward issues include cold and flu symptoms, insect bites, diarrhea, pink eye, and sore throats.
Telemedicine has advanced our current health care options by offering several new benefits. It is making healthcare accessible for more patients, whether they live in a remote location, have a packed schedule, or any other number of other reasons.
Telemedicine is also much more financially accessible. A recent study found that the average telemedicine visit is around $79, whereas an average doctor’s appointment is $149, and a trip to the emergency room costs, on average, $1,734. As telemedicine continues to grow, health insurance providers are offerings coverage for telemedicine visits. Some states even require that health insurance plans reimburse patients for telemedicine visits.
Telemedicine offers a more accessible opportunity for healthcare and changing the way we visit the doctor. At SBMA we offer the most competitive limited benefit plans in the industry, including virtual health options! Check out our services for more information!