We aren’t here to glorify COVID-19, but the one positive from it was that, as a society, we learned to adapt. And while we’re happy we’re able to live life somewhat normally these days, we are glad certain things that were perfected during the pandemic seem to be sticking around – like Zoom meetings, grocery delivery, and telehealth (also known as telemedicine). Now, telehealth is nothing new, but thanks to technological advances, it’s being used now more than ever. Allow us to enlighten you.
What Is Telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of technologies to access and manage healthcare services remotely. In its early days, telehealth was used to connect doctors to patients in rural areas. Now, thanks to high-speed internet, smartphones, and video chat, people can receive healthcare advice from the comfort of their home or office.
Let’s talk about what telehealth can actually do for you. Basically, a telehealth appointment is a FaceTime with your doctor, where you reap all of the benefits of an office visit without leaving your house. Telemedicine is most often used for follow-up visits, managing chronic conditions, medication management, and other clinical services that can happen remotely.
What Are the Benefits of Telehealth?
There are benefits on both sides of the screen. Healthcare providers enjoy:
- Improved office efficiency. Now their office is being used more for patients that need to be seen in person.
- Better patient follow-through. Be honest: Are you more likely to cancel the doctor’s appointment you have to go to or the one you pull up on your phone?
From the patient’s perspective, we enjoy:
- Less time away from work. You can have a quick 15-minute doctor’s appointment from your office – and you don’t even have to give up your parking spot.
- Less interference in your day.
- No exposure: You don’t infect anyone, and no one infects you. It’s a win-win.
Does Insurance Cover Telemedicine?
Insurance coverage is determined by state and federal laws, but over half of the country requires private insurers to reimburse healthcare providers for services delivered through telemedicine. Medicare also provides coverage for patients that need telemedicine so those living outside of metropolitan areas can receive healthcare. Some coverage is more progressive than others, but state legislatures, private health insurance providers, and even the federal government are looking at how telemedicine might be used more broadly under Medicare.
It’s best to refer to your health insurance provider to review what types of telehealth or telemedicine services are covered.
What Are the Best Telehealth Providers?
Here is our quick list of telemedicine providers.
- Mental Health: BetterHelp
- Fast Booking: Sesame Care
- Budget Care: GoodRx Care
- Best for Messaging: PlushCare
- Best with Insurance: MDLive
- Best for General Care: Teladoc
Have you tried telehealth? Share your experience with us in the comments below!