Published April 20th, 2020 by USA Rx
Imagine that you’re at home sick, moving back and forth between your bathroom and bedroom because you can’t stop throwing up, but you’re also so exhausted that all you want to do is sleep. You have a fever, your nose is running, and all you can think about is how terrible you feel. You’ve been sick for several days and you know you need to see a doctor, but the thought of finding the strength to drive yourself to your doctor’s office seems impossible and overwhelming, and you find yourself wondering how to get a prescription online. Perhaps you work unconventional hours, live far away from your doctor’s office, or are a single parent struggling to find childcare for your little ones so that you can get to the doctor - you’re probably wondering how to get a prescription online, too. Fortunately, modern technology has evolved to allow us to consult with a doctor about our health conditions without ever setting foot in a doctor’s office or sitting in a waiting room, making it possible to get an online prescription and start feeling better faster.
Telemedicine is a new way of offering healthcare. The practice refers to offering clinical services through electronic means, such as video conferencing on a smartphone or computer, for patients instead of requiring an in-person visit. When using telemedicine, a healthcare provider and patient use secure video and audio connections to see and speak to each other about the patient’s condition, much like you would in a doctor’s office. The only difference is that the doctor and the patient are not in the same room. Popular telemedicine specialties offered include, but are not limited to:
Although it might seem like a brand new way of doing business in healthcare, the actual process surrounding telemedicine is similar to visiting your doctor in person. When using a telemedicine company, you can easily make an appointment right through an app on your smartphone or computer. When it’s time for your appointment, you’ll have a video call with a doctor or healthcare professional who will discuss your medical history, current medications, symptoms, and possible treatment options. If a prescription is needed, your doctor will then send a prescription to your local pharmacy, where you can pick up your medications in no time.
While you might think that telemedicine could only diagnose a very limited number of common conditions, like a cold or seasonal allergies, telemedicine is capable of diagnosing a wide range of health conditions, including chronic health conditions and urgent care medical issues that are considered non-emergency. Telemedicine providers are able to diagnose, recommend treatment, and prescribe medication for the following chronic issues, among others:
Telemedicine providers are able to diagnose, recommend treatment, and prescribe medication for the following urgent care medical issues that are considered non-emergency, among others:
The services offered will vary slightly based on the telemedicine company selected; however, many conditions that do not require a physical examination to be treated are generally covered.
While there are many conditions that can be diagnosed and treated via telemedicine, there are many conditions that cannot. Any condition that would require a physical examination or detailed testing to assess, such as a broken bone or acute illness with uncommon symptoms, cannot be treated via telemedicine. Telemedicine providers do not provide prescriptions for controlled substances, including narcotic/opioid pain medications, sleeping pills, fast-acting anxiety medications, stimulants, and more. If you have a condition that requires you to take a controlled substance, you will need to continue to see your healthcare professional in person.
Telemedicine has tons of great benefits that make accessing quality medical care much easier. Some of the many benefits of telemedicine include:
Although there are many benefits to telemedicine, there are also downsides associated with this type of healthcare service. Downsides associated with telemedicine include:
There are many different companies offering telemedicine, including some insurance providers. The majority offer convenient apps that allow you to speak to your doctor right from your mobile device. Telemedicine providers include, but are not limited to:
Pricing and services provided will vary from company to company, so make sure you shop around and find the right telemedicine provider for your needs and budget.
Maybe. 26 states currently have laws that require insurance companies to provide reimbursement for healthcare providers for telehealth services, with ten additional states considering similar legislation. Some insurance companies in the other states do recognize the value and convenience offered by telemedicine and provide coverage, while others do not. Even if your insurance does not cover telemedicine services, you may be surprised to find that services can still be affordable and sometimes less than your copay for an in-person visit. Companies like HeyDoctor do not accept insurance but have fees starting as low as fifteen dollars for some services. You’ll be able to see the cost associated with each type of consultation upfront, so you’ll know exactly how much you’re paying.
One of the best things about telemedicine is its convenience - you have access to a healthcare professional at virtually any hour of the day and from anywhere. However, some times are more appropriate to use telemedicine than others. Consider using telemedicine in the following situations:
Telemedicine isn’t perfect, but for millions of Americans, it offers a convenient, affordable way to get access to healthcare professionals for the diagnosis, treatment, and management of common conditions. As telemedicine becomes more popular, there is likely to be an improvement in the technology and your local physicians may get in on the trend.