When you are used to having to go to the doctor or “see” a doctor to get diagnosed and treated, the concept of telemedicine can be confusing. What exactly is telemedicine, what should I expect, and what can be treated? How is the doctor going to do all those doctor things, like look in my ears, or down my throat and tell me to say “aaahhhhh”?
When you enroll in a telemedicine program, basic information will be collected on you and the members of your household that will have access. If you are one of those people that every year or every other year when the pollen gets bad, or there is a big jump from warm to cold weather you have a tendency to get a sinus infection, then you a telemedicine program would be great for you. Once you have an onset of symptoms, you call or using the Internet setup for a doctor to call you, yes, the doctor will call you. This phone call usually occurs within 15 minutes to a couple of hours depending on when you call and how your program is setup. The doctor will discuss some basic questions just like you were in their office, ask about symptoms, previous episodes, what treatments have worked for you in the past, and that is it. If the doctor thinks it is appropriate they will send in a prescription to your preferred pharmacy, or if the doctor thinks you probably need to see someone face to face then they will recommend that and tell you how urgently you need to see someone.
Telemedicine is great for:
- Cold and flu symptoms
- Poison ivy
- Pink eye
- Urinary tract infection
- Respiratory infection
- Sinus problems
- Ear infection
If you have a web camera and skype on your computer, or a smart phone capable of video conferencing, you can actually have the doctor “see” you. So if you are trying to decide if that twisted ankle is just sprained or needs more serious attention, or a cut just needs a band aid or stitches, with video the doctor can give you some instant direction. This service is awesome if you have a member of your household that might be a little accident prone.
People that travel a lot, college students, germaphobes, rural households, working parents with small kids, people too busy or to far to easily get to the doctor, recently relocated individuals that have not found a local physician, or people that live in an underserved community would all benefit from a telemedicine service.
If you think this is a way to beat the system and get lots of prescriptions, you should know that with these systems, once you start using them the doctors will be using an online electronic health record to keep track of your previous calls and symptoms. Also, the doctors will not prescribe DEA controlled substances. Here are a few examples of things that could be prescribed:
- Bactrim DS™
- Tessalon Perles™
This is NOT a comprehensive list or a guarantee that you would get one of these medicines prescribed, just a list of things like this get prescribed to people with symptoms and history that shows they would benefit after a proper diagnosis.
Telemedicine is very easy to use and the worst result you get from a call is professional advice to go see a doctor in person, which is beneficial information. It is extremely handy for those without quick reliable access to a doctor. Best of all, you avoid the petri dish of infection, also called the waiting room.