Telemedicine Options: 3 Reasons to Use Telemedicine

Providers throughout the nation are beginning to offer their clients telemedicine options.

Though it may take some time to get used to the idea of a doctor’s visit over a phone or video conference, there are several potential benefits to this form of health care delivery. That said, there are still situations when it’s best to see your provider in person.

Here are three good reasons to use telemedicine for non-emergency consultations.

Reid HealthNOW

1. Reduced travel time

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has recognized the potential for telemedicine to significantly reduce travel time for patients who live in rural areas and to connect them with specialists that they would otherwise not visit. It also helps individuals who may not have convenient transportation, as well as those with mobility problems, which make traveling to a doctor’s office difficult.

2. Convenience

When you’re sick with a cold, you likely just want to stay at home and get better. Telemedicine makes that possible. If you’re having a problem with seasonal allergies or the flu, for example, Reid HealthNOW allows you to make a virtual urgent care appointment and see a provider without having to leave your home.

People who use telemedicine report satisfaction with the service largely because it reduces the time missed from work. Patients no longer have to take days off to been seen, as a virtual visit can be done from the workplace. Additionally, people who care for children or provide elder care can see a doctor without having to find a babysitter or other care provider.

3. Privacy

Telemedicine visits are always conducted via a secure, HIPAA-compliant connection. Your private health information is protected just as it is during an in-person visit.

Additionally, Reid Health provides Behavioral Health telemedicine options.

When you need a physical exam

Telemedicine is an excellent, cost-effective tool — but there are still some situations in which you should plan on seeing your provider in person:

  • Emergent situations and treatments. During an emergency where you or your loved one needs immediate treatment, call 911 or go directly to the emergency room. Certain procedures (such as earwax extractions and biopsies) should always be performed in a doctor’s office by a licensed professional.
  • Unreliable connection. If the internet or phone connection between you and the provider is not reliable enough for clear, understandable two-way communication, then it’s better to see the doctor in person.

There are many assessment tools available that help telemedicine patients give their physician a complete clinical picture. For example, remote EKGs, digital stethoscopes and exam cameras are available through telecardiology. However, there are a few limitations that could prompt your provider to ask you to come into the office. Pap smears and breast exams, rapid strep testing and other such exams should always be done in person.

As technology and delivery strategies improve, telemedicine continues to become more sophisticated and accessible for patients. It’s an exciting time.

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