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When Should You Choose Telemedicine and When is an In-Person Appointment Needed?

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COVID-19 has changed countless facets of the way we interact with businesses, brands, and accomplish our daily tasks. Picking up a latté now requires an app-based pre-purchase, vet appointments are now parking lot drop-offs, and hair appointments are occurring on breezy, outdoor patios. While many such changes are expected to be short-lived, there is no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology solutions that have been available for years, but that many have not previously had an impetus to test.

Even when we conquer COVID-19 (and we will), social experts predict that virtual interactions will remain primary preferences. For example, researchers anticipate that many students will still choose online education programs, and families separated by distance will continue to convene for birthdays and holidays using video conferencing tools. Such technology solutions are changing our lives for the better—making it easier to connect and obtain services from the comfort and convenience of our homes. Similarly, telemedicine may be growing in popularity due to the COVID-19 crisis, but patients are learning that it is a convenient and confidential way to seek non-emergency healthcare treatment for a variety of routine and acute care needs.

Now is the time to embrace the best of technology alternatives and understand the long-term role they can play in our lives. The next time you need to speak with your primary care or urgent care provider, consider if you can address your healthcare needs using telemedicine.

What is Telemedicine?

The telemedicine experience for the patient is similar to a traditional in-clinic healthcare visit, except the provider interacts with the patient via an app or a web-based video conferencing tool. Using digital technology, patients and healthcare providers can see and speak to one another; however, the patient never needs to leave their home, commute to the healthcare clinic, pay to park, sit in a waiting room, or be exposed to other patients who may be seeking treatment for an airborne illness. From a time-savings perspective alone, patients stand to benefit from telemedicine, especially when one considers that the average round-trip time commitment for a typical doctor’s appointment is 121 minutes.

For What Types of Health Concerns is Telemedicine a Preferred Option?

You can make a telemedicine appointment for such needs as:

  • Allergies
  • Annual wellness visits
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic conditions if you are an established patient on a recurring treatment schedule
  • Constipation
  • Cough or cold
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fever
  • Flu
  • Follow-up consultation to imaging or lab work
  • Infection
  • Joint aches and pain
  • Medication refills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pink eye
  • Rash or insect bite
  • Sinus problems
  • Sore throat

During these visits, your provider can even prescribe or refill medications. In addition to wellness visits and acute care, some specialists also accept telemedicine appointments for routine follow-ups and check-ins, though not when there is an onset of emergent symptoms. Potential specialist appointments in which you can leverage telemedicine include:

  • Allergists
  • Cardiology
  • Dermatology
  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Immunology
  • Nephrology
  • Obstetrics and gynecology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Psychiatry
  • Radiology

You should see a healthcare provider in-person, or seek urgent or emergency care if you are experiencing:

  • A possible (or known) broken limb
  • A laceration that requires stitches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath or chest pain
  • Severe difficulty breathing

The next time you need a wellness exam or an acute diagnosis or treatment, consider making a telemedicine appointment. Not only will you save yourself time and travel, but you can enjoy speaking candidly to a provider you trust from a comfortable setting. To make a telemedicine appointment with a compassionate care provider at BestMed now, click here.