Now that the coronavirus is spreading, many health professionals are telling people who feel sick to stay home. And even if you’re not ill, your employer may have asked you to work from home as your kids face school cancellations too.
With so many suggestions for staying indoors, you have to wonder how you’ll get medical help should you need it. But even if there wasn’t a coronavirus panic, you may be seeking an alternative to standard doctor’s visits that is less costly and more convenient.
That’s where telemedicine or telehealth comes in to save the day. Sure, it may be unconventional or seem like something out of a sci-fi film, but it’s actually been around for over 40 years. And when you consider the cost benefits and convenience of telemedicine, you can rest assured it’ll be around for much longer too.
Why Telemedicine Looks Poised to Take Over in the Future
How Telehealth Helps Doctors
The benefits of telemedicine are numerous. Not only can it help patients get the care they need without breaking the bank or having to travel when they’re extremely sick, but it helps doctors, too.
If a doctor can hold an appointment via video conferencing, phone, or some other type of patient portal, they can reduce health risks associated with in-person visits. This comes in particularly handy when something like the coronavirus is around.
Doctors can also help more patients in less time via video and calls, as they aren’t as susceptible to the complications that come with scheduling in-person appointments.
Telehealth Benefits for Consumers
More Cost-Effective Than Traditional Care.
Can you remember the last time you were in a doctor’s office? If it hasn’t been years, it’s probably because you’ve been lucky enough not to get sick. Or maybe you got sick, but skipped on the doctor’s appointment due to the high costs of healthcare.
Instead of paying hundreds of dollars per month or more for health insurance, getting a telehealth plan can cost much less, even if you include your entire family.
What can this low cost get you? Plenty of benefits, including 24-hour access to doctors, discounts on prescriptions, vision, dental, and more.
Since you can schedule an appointment via video chat or over the phone, you can also avoid the cost of having to take time off work to visit the doctor. Also, you won’t have to worry about transportation costs, especially if you live far away from the nearest doctor.
Increased Access to Specialists
Many people are limited by their location when it comes to doctors. Since telemedicine does not require face-to-face interaction, you can get the care you need regardless of where you live.
When does this come in particularly handy? When you have a rare condition that requires the help of a specialist located far away.
More Control Over Your Health
Depending on someone else for all of your health needs can be risky. Telemedicine can help you better take care of yourself by putting you on a chat or call with a professional who can direct you on how to fix your issue from a distance.
For instance, if you just had surgery and need to treat a post-surgical wound, a video conference with a doctor can help you complete the task by yourself in the comfort of your own home. Or if you have flu-like symptoms, but don’t want to put others at risk, you can use telemedicine there too.