There’s a new way to see a licensed physician without long waits in a crowded waiting room and without having to schedule an appointment days ahead of time – telemedicine. Actually, telemedicine has been around for over 40 years. It began as a way for hospitals to provide care to patients in rural areas and regions where physician access is limited. Since then, it’s grown beyond its humble beginnings to become a convenient way to tap into the expertise of a licensed health care professional.
With telemedicine, you tap into the power of technology to get a medical problem assessed. When you schedule a telemedicine consult, you interact with a physician by phone or by video rather than in person. Research shows many minor medical problems can be taken care of through telemedicine and don’t require a face-to-face visit.
Convenient Medical Care: Are You a Good Candidate?
You might wonder who the ideal candidate is for telemedicine. Do you live in a rural area where visiting a doctor involves major travel time and inconvenience? Originally, that’s what telemedicine was developed for, to help people like you get the care you need. Not everyone has access to a physician and the problem is getting worse due to the shortage of primary care doctors. With telemedicine, the doctor comes to you, by phone or by video.
Do you work a demanding job and have little time to see a doctor? Scheduling an appointment, traveling to a physician’s office, waiting in the waiting room, and seeing the doctor adds up to a big time investment. With telemedicine, there’s no waiting. A licensed physician calls you back right away to address your health concern. The commute time is non-existent, so you can do other things while waiting for your virtual appointment to begin.
Do you travel with your job? Telemedicine is a way for you to connect with a physician when you’re out-of-town and aren’t sure where to get medical care in the area you’re in. A telemedicine consult means you don’t have to scramble around and try to find someone to see you when you’re in a strange place and don’t feel well. Telemedicine serves as an anchor, providing you with medical care, should you need it when you’re on the road or on vacation.
What if You Have Kids?
If you have children, you know there’s always the potential for minor injuries and unexpected illnesses, like the latest respiratory or stomach virus passing around at your child’s school. It’s not always easy to load the kids into the car to see a doctor, especially when you’re busy. Oftentimes, problems like this can be handled by phone with a significant savings of time and energy. You and your child can tap into the expertise of a physician trained to deal with kids and their unique health issues and get the problem addressed without leaving home.
Telemedicine: Competent and Affordable Medical Care When You Need It
Telemedicine physicians are skilled at handling minor health issues over the phone and by video, but not every medical problem can be solved by phone or video. As you might suspect, telemedicine consults aren’t appropriate for serious medical conditions or injuries that need immediate evaluation. If you consult with a telemedicine physician and they think your condition demands attention immediately, they’ll encourage you to visit your local emergency room or immediate care center. But if you have a minor health problem or injury, a telemedicine consult can often resolve the problem at a considerable time and cost savings to you.
During a telemedicine consultation, the information you discuss with the health care provider remains private and you’ll have the opportunity to get your questions answered.
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re time challenged, work full-time, travel a lot or simply need prompt and affordable health care, telemedicine is there for you when you need it, giving you added peace of mind.