What is Telemedicine?
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Nobody wants to sit in a crowded waiting room when it’s flu season! What if you just need advice on where best to go with your urgent or chronic medical issue? Maybe, you have a question that talking to a medical provider can solve or help ease your mind. Telemedicine is a convenient way to reach a provider without having to disrupt your schedule or leave the comfort of your own home.
“Telemedicine” can be as simple as a phone or video call that takes the place of an in-person doctor-patient visit for minor medical needs (like a sinus infection, cold symptoms, or the flu). Studies confirm that many common ailments can easily be addressed with just a few simple questions plus maybe a photo or two.
Telemedicine offers several advantages.
1) Telemedicine is a quick, convenient, and cost-effective choice for many types of patients. Many companies cover the cost of telemedicine visits as a benefit in their health plans. If you are self-pay, a telemedicine visit will cost you about half the cost of a regular office visit. Plus, telemedicine visits are definitely less expensive than a visit to the ER. Insurance is not required, either.
2) Telemedicine can limit the spread of disease. Why sit in a crowded waiting room full of sick people when you can interact with your provider in your own safe environment? In fact, with the global pandemic of COVID-19, the American College of Physicians encouraged the use of telemedicine because it increases the ability and flexibility for medical providers to continue to care for their patients remotely during the rapidly evolving time of risk for spread of virus.
3) Technological advances have made telemedicine even practical for those with chronic diseases. Take for example hypertension or diabetes where home monitoring of conditions could be discussed before medications are adjusted. Digital communication between home devices and electronic medical records have enhanced the ability to provide virtual care for a variety of chronic conditions. Or, what if your medications are running low and your provider needs to assess your situation before providing a refill or to provide you enough medication to get you through until you can see your provider in person.
Some disadvantages of telemedicine make it not practical for all. While these technologies offer convenience and reduced loss of productivity some providers are concerned about offering advice or prescribing medications without examining a patient in person. Some medical problems will always be best in person so that physical examination is possible. Others worry that telemedicine is less personal and may discourage patient trust in their provider. Despite these concerns telemedicine is an additional way to seek medical care that you can use to your advantage from time to time. How to know if telemedicine is right for you? If you answer yes to any of these situations, you may find that a telemedicine visit could meet your needs:
You want to avoid crowded waiting rooms of sick people and wish to receive medical care without having to leave the comfort of your own home
You have a relatively common complaint and your jam-packed schedule presents challenges in taking time to physically get to the doctor
You have a chronic condition and touching base with a provider to share information is necessary for medication adjustment
You live in a rural area and connecting through a virtual platform with a provider makes sense given travel restrictions.
Our telemedicine service, ZüpMed Virtual®, is perfect if you have a relatively simple complaint and your schedule or circumstances makes it difficult for a trip to Laurelwood. If you can make a call, you can reach out with a medical question from almost anywhere*! Telemedicine works like this:
Provide your name, email address, date of birth, and reason for the telemedicine visit. You won’t be asked for payment information until your request is reviewed and scheduled. And don’t worry. You won’t be charged unless we are able to provide care for you!
You will receive a link to our platform. Wait for our provider to join you during your appointment time. Don’t hesitate to call us at (910) 701-7010 if you have any difficulty during the call.
It’s that easy.
(*Regulations restrict our practice of medicine outside the state of Tennessee to ZüpMed members only. Just one more reason to join!)