At a time when most of us have been spending more time at home, we’ve grown accustomed to connecting with people remotely. Whether it’s video chats with family and friends or ordering groceries online, technology helps make everyday life more convenient.
So, what about going to the doctor? With the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have concerns about going in for a physical doctor’s visit when a health issue pops up. Fortunately, many providers are available to see you virtually, through telehealth. Using your phone, tablet or a computer, the provider can answer your questions, evaluate your symptoms and provide a diagnosis or support. Video-enabled devices, in particular, allow for a visit as close to an in-person appointment as possible.
It doesn’t have to be intimidating, either. To start, check with your doctor or insurance company to learn what telehealth options are available to you and how to schedule a visit. While certain providers may not previously have offered telehealth, many are now integrating telehealth into their practice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
From there, all you need is an internet connection and your preferred video conferencing platform; ask your doctor what applications they support. You’ll also want to have your health plan ID card handy. You may also consider other tips like ensuring you’re set up for the visit with enough light and minimal background noise.
Virtual visits: How does it work?
Before you begin, you might be asked to fill out a brief medical history. Once you’ve answered a few questions, you’ll share details about your symptoms and anything else the provider may need to know before your visit begins. You may also want to prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor.
Here are some of the conditions that may be best addressed in a telehealth visit*:
- Seasonal flu
- Sinus problems
- Some mental health visits (depending on coverage)
- Sore throat
- Urinary tract infection
After your visit, the provider may prescribe a medication** and send the information to your chosen pharmacy, as well as to your primary care physician for reference.
If you’ve never done a telehealth visit before, now might be the perfect time to give it a try. It’s a great option to get the care you need while still taking the steps to keep yourself and your community safe.
*If you are experiencing a medical emergency you should seek appropriate emergency medical assistance such as calling 911.
**Prescription services may not be available in all states. Costs for prescription drugs vary depending on your prescription plan and are generally not covered as part of your telehealth benefit.