Telemedicine, or the virtual delivery of urgent care through internet-connected devices, can help patients maintain social distancing and get immediate care. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has been serving as a crucial gateway for healthcare access for thousands of patients across the U.S.
AFC Urgent Care Edgewater opened telemedicine access to help patients find accessible and affordable urgent care services, even while everyone is staying at home. But as patients slowly return to their normal work schedules and activities, it may be worth asking if telemedicine will continue to be useful.
The flexibility and accessibility of telemedicine provides a unique opportunity for patients to get almost immediate consultation and treatment for minor services. Even for the most basic or minor ailments, patients may no longer want or need to go into a doctors office for care. Instead, telemedicine provides a new medium for getting recurring and seasonal healthcare needs treated.
So what are some of the benefits for patients when it comes to using telemedicine? Why would patients continue to use virtual urgent care services when states and businesses begin to reopen?
Accessible medical care for a majority of patients
Telemedicine is extremely easy for many patients to set up. All they need is an internet connection and an internet-connected device to get care from a provider.
Using a desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone allows a patient to book an online appointment, speak with medical staff, and get virtual treatment from their provider. Federal restrictions on telemedicine use have loosened since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, which means that a growing number of providers have telemedicine care.
Contemporary challenges for getting medical care are also addressed by using telehealth and similar telemedicine platforms. Patients no longer have to plan extra time to commute to their doctor, schedule their appointment in advance, or worry about waiting room crowding. Instead, on-screen prompts help patients stay connected and informed about their visit.
Telemedicine is covered by most insurances and is affordable
As we mentioned above, a number of federal restrictions for telemedicine are loosened for urgent care centers to provide telemedicine care. In addition, most major insurance companies are now providing coverage for telemedicine services.
Before telemedicine regulations opened, many providers had to go through several steps in order to negotiate telemedicine billing with insurance companies. Only a select few medical providers had the infrastructure and financial agreements in place to bill insurance companies. Besides large hospital systems, many local providers did not have the ability to provide affordable telemedicine care.
Now, providers can bill most major insurance providers to cover a majority of telemedicine visits including follow-up care for acute illness symptoms. But as with any medical service, it is important that you make sure you consult your insurance provider and health plan benefits to see if telemedicine is covered for your visit.
Get seasonal illness, injury care, and provider evaluation ASAP
Patients have a variety of on-demand apps and services for many of their needs. These services and apps include the ability to order meals, supplies, groceries, retail items, and even more from the palm of their hand. With telemedicine, that same type of convenience and accessibility is available for patients for urgent care services
Why drive down to a clinic and wait for care when you can get treatment for a variety of needs from your phone? Not only is telemedicine easy to use, but it can help patients get treated for seasonal and sudden ailments that impact their work life, education, and daily activities. A list of telemedicine services available include the following:
- Allergy Symptoms
- Bug Bites
- Poison Ivy
- Sore Throat
- Ear infection, earache, or swimmers ear
- Eye infection, pinkeye, sties
- Minor Burns
- Minor Rashes (e.g. Impetigo, Shingles, Ringworm)
- Newly onset cough
- Sinus Infection or Sinusitis
- Urinary Tract Infections
It is important however, to know that telemedicine has some limitations for patients. In-person care is required for suturing, injury treatment, x-rays, and lab testing just to name a few services. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
A return to a normal community, workplace, and living situation may not be a fluid transition for a lot of patients that are still worried about current cases, vulnerabilities, and other COVID-19 risks. But the continued use of telemedicine ensures that most patients can get the care they need right away.