Telehealth and telemedicine are making great strides in filling in the gaps in the American healthcare system. Remote medical services make doctors and medical care more accessible to patients than ever before, especially those who are not covered by health insurance. In the past, some people were hesitant to take advantage of telehealth services because they were worried about security or the quality of care. Others simply did not understand the benefits of remote medical care. In recent years, however, this trend has begun to change, giving patients more access to low-cost telehealth services.
Telehealth is increasingly used for the convenience of both patients and doctors, especially in areas where medical care is limited and patients have difficulty finding or making appointments. This drastically improves patient care and lowers hospital readmission rates — another positive in areas where medical services are limited and hospitals are frequently at capacity.
Many patients who were once cut off from medical advice or unable to get treatment are now finding that access to an online doctor or telemedicine services can change their lives. As telehealth becomes more popular, especially for people who live in rural areas, are uninsured, or cannot easily access doctors, it is common to wonder what services and treatments telehealth can provide. There are many telehealth services available, ranging from general to specialty care.
Telehealth is extremely useful for treating common conditions, such as asthma, colds and the flu, rashes, skin inflammations, sprains and sports injuries, urinary tract infections, bronchitis, and sore throats. This cuts back on patient wait times, congested waiting rooms, and doctor shortages, getting patients quick and easy remote assessment. Online doctors able to conduct examinations just as they would in person and offer advice or treatment without the need for an appointment.
Specialty services offered remotely include psychiatry, dermatology, audiology, radiology, oncology, cardiology, obstetrics, dentistry, and ophthalmology. These services are critical, but for those who cannot access them via traditional doctors — for whatever reason — missing out on them can mean serious health consequences.
It may come as a surprise that these specialty services can be accomplished remotely, but this can be done in many ways. Some are simple, such as speaking with doctors or other medical professionals over the phone or via video chat rather than in person. Others use modern technology to allow patients to be monitored or run tests from their own homes. All of this means that patients receive the best possible medical care, whatever their location, and do not have to suffer unreasonable pain or financial burdens.
Radiology was one of the first applications of telehealth services in the 1960s. Using simple telecommunications, medical professionals could share X-rays, lab tests, and patient information to diagnosticians located elsewhere. This increased patient access to diagnosticians regardless of where they lived and helped hospitals that were understaffed or without constant access to radiology to improve their care. Using telehealth services in the modern era, radiologists can provide fast consultations and care management to patients from anywhere in the world.
Nowadays, sharing information remotely is even easier and more secure. Most telehealth services provide an online patient portal that is completely encrypted and only accessible to patients and their doctors, as well as any specialty labs with which the information is shared. These platforms mean that all your patient information is stored in one place, in addition to being completely safe from anyone outside your doctor’s office. This sort of software is a perfect way for information to be shared across multiple different doctors, specialists, and locations, including X-rays, patient history, and test results. Patients can even ask questions or request prescription refills online.
As unbelievable as it sounds, there are instances in which telehealth enables computer doctors to provide evaluations in emergency situations, especially for those who cannot get to an emergency room. These services can be invaluable in times of medical crisis, connecting patients to qualified medical professionals who can help them as much as possible until they can get to physical emergency services. This means you are connected to emergency care in the time it takes to dial a phone rather than drive to a hospital or wait for an ambulance. Of course, telehealth emergency services should always be used with caution. If you are truly in a life-threatening situation, it is always wise to go to an emergency room for immediate evaluation if possible. However, there are times when that is simply not an option. Thankfully, telehealth provides a way to contact medical professionals as quickly as possible.
Telehealth makes a lot of sense for urgent care services, which are intended for illnesses or injuries that, while not immediately life-threatening, are serious enough to require immediate medical care rather than waiting for a scheduled doctor appointment. Patients can speak to medical professionals over the phone or via video chat to have their conditions assessed and advised. Providing these services remotely can reduce congestion at offices and shorten patient wait times. They also have all the benefits of an in-person urgent care visit without the travel times, wait times, or extensive paperwork.
Using communications technology, ophthalmologists can examine eyes, diagnose conditions, determine treatments, and follow up with patients remotely. Eye infections are a common diagnosis made using telehealth services. Often, a live interaction with an ophthalmologist is not necessary, and patients’ photos and records can be transferred for a quick diagnosis. Regular eye exams are important for visual acuity as well as overall health, but they are frequently neglected because patients either do not have the time or have no vision coverage on their insurance. A remote ophthalmology service is a fantastic way to ensure you are keeping up with your visual health on a regular basis.
Telehealth services also often include connecting patients to clinical pharmacists, dieticians, behavioral therapists, diabetologists, and other specialists who can help them care for chronic illnesses and conditions. Remote health services do not work on their own. Following online or over-the-phone consultations, medical professionals can refer patients to brick-and-mortar buildings to receive additional treatment for chronic conditions if necessary. There are also many ways that they can provide remote treatment for these conditions without requiring patients to leave their homes. In fact, patients who suffer chronic pain are perfect candidates for telehealth services since they are likely to be inconvenienced by frequent doctors’ appointments, long wait times, frequent prescription needs, and piling co-pay fees.
Using communications technology, patients or providers can send photos of skin conditions, such as rashes or moles, to receive a remote diagnosis. Often, primary care providers use telehealth services to get patients a diagnosis quickly and create a plan for treatment. This is especially useful since primary care physicians are often the first to notice dermatological issues.
ICUs also benefit from telehealth because it enables them to have 24-hour patient monitoring from a remote team of specialists and nurses, ensuring that patients’ conditions are never without proper supervision. Hospitals frequently operate at capacity, meaning that they must prioritize patients who most urgently need care and send others home. Remote monitoring ensures that patients still requiring treatment to receive the quality care they need, even if they are no longer sleeping in a hospital bed.
Oncology is one of the fields more recently making use of telehealth services to offer better and faster care to patients. Telehealth oncology makes care more convenient for patients and doctors, allowing doctors to diagnose remotely and check in with patients without interrupting their daily lives — a huge relief for cancer patients who require frequent or even daily appointments. Oncologists are also able to consult remotely with patients and other doctors. For patients who need to be in touch with their doctors nearly constantly, telehealth can give them the treatment they need so they can return to normal life as quickly as possible.
One of the growing and most beneficial telehealth services is remote therapy and counseling. Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists can talk with patients about their conditions and symptoms, evaluate them, plan courses of action, and prescribe medications, all over the phone or video chat. The popularity of using telehealth services for psychiatry and counseling is likely due to the national shortage of qualified psychiatrists, as well as the fact that therapy does not require a physical examination. Many people also enjoy the additional privacy of being able to speak to their therapist in a familiar setting, such as their own living room.
One extremely useful service that telehealth provides is allowing doctors and other medical professionals to write and refill prescriptions from far away. The prescription is simply sent to the patient’s nearest pharmacy, allowing for quick and easy pickup without additional doctors’ visits. Most telehealth services offer ways for patients to access prescriptions even if they are not covered by health insurance. This helps those who might not normally have access to prescription medication in a timely manner — or at all.
Consult board-certified doctors face-to-face online for as little as $99 per year
Telehealth services also often include interpreters for patients who speak a limited amount of English. These services are included live during a patient’s appointment and use audio or visual technology to translate for both the doctor and patient, greatly easing evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.
Home monitoring helps patients manage their conditions between appointments or visits from medical professionals. This is especially valuable for those with chronic illnesses or behavioral health conditions. Home monitoring works in a variety of ways, such as supplying a patient who has a chronic heart condition with an at-home heart monitor. The patient can then wear the monitor in their home, and the results are uploaded in real-time to a doctor’s office or nurse’s station in a remote healthcare facility. If a problem is detected, medical professionals can immediately contact the patient for assessment or follow-up treatment.
The ways in which telehealth is used are expanding all the time. Healthcare providers can talk live with patients and answer questions about diagnosis or treatment. Others use telehealth services to give medical advice or follow-ups, which greatly increases the chances that patients will not miss appointments or fail to reschedule. Surgeons can also monitor the progress of patients remotely after surgeries to keep track of how they are healing. As the industry grows and adapts, insurance providers and Medicare are covering more telehealth services.
Bonum Health is an opportunity for patients to access top-quality telehealth services. We offer a range of services to patients of every insured status, even those who are not covered by health insurance at all. Patients pay a single annual fee for all the treatments Bonum Health has to offer.
Bonum Health professionals are experts in a variety of fields. We offer top-of-the-line family medicine services, as well as internal medicine, emergency medicine, and pediatric care. All of these services can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, either over the phone, online via the Bonum Health website, or through a secure mobile app. Patients can review information on their online portal and even have their prescriptions filled by one of Bonum Health’s quality medical professionals.
A telehealth service, like Bonum Health, is a terrific way to access instant, expert medical care at a fraction of the cost of traditional health services. Contact Bonum Health today to find out how you can take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.
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