Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many people have turned to telehealth or virtual care for their health needs. In April, nearly half of all Medicare primary care visits were through telehealth. That same month, UnitedHealthcare helped to facilitate more than 4 million virtual care visits.
However, there still might be some misconceptions about virtual care. Clearing this up might help your decision-making when you need to schedule an appointment.
Myth 1: Telehealth will disrupt my relationship with my doctor.
Today’s telehealth tools are built to help you to talk comfortably with your doctor through a video chat or even on your phone. Your provider will be able to ask questions, evaluate your symptoms and help determine the best next steps for your care. According to a study conducted by the American Journal of Managed Care, the majority of patients and clinicians reported no difference in the overall quality of telehealth visits, compared to in-person doctor visits.
Myth 2: Telehealth tools are complicated to use.
Connecting with your provider for a telehealth visit may be easier than you think. In many cases, all you need is an internet connection and a computer, phone or tablet to get started. You can visit with your doctor via video conferencing; your provider’s office may have a specific application they use and will provide instructions to help you download it to your device. Your health plan may also offer suggested telehealth services for you to consider.
Recent research shows that 62% of adults age 70 and older own a smartphone, and 88% of those individuals use their devices daily. What’s more – more than half (53%) of older adults would prefer to have their health care needs managed by a mix of medical professionals and health care technology.
Myth 3: Only minor or common conditions can be treated through telehealth.
Many conditions may be treated virtually, like allergies or cold symptoms, sinus problems or urinary tract infections, rashes and mental health concerns. Patients who need help to lose weight or quit smoking may also find the support they need through telehealth. Some chronic conditions may be managed virtually, too. For example, providers can help check if medications are helping improve symptoms and whether you’re taking them as prescribed. Telehealth visits may also be used for post-operative check-ins, follow-up visits after treatment and medication renewals.
Remember, if you’re experiencing a medical emergency, always seek appropriate care such as calling 911.
If you give telehealth a try, it may be a safe and easy way to manage your health and stay connected to your provider. As more providers implement telehealth, it may soon become a regular part of your interaction with your care team.
For more helpful tips and information, visit TelehealthUHC.com.
Plans are insured through UnitedHealthcare Insurance Company or one of its affiliated companies. For Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans: A Medicare Advantage organization with a Medicare contract and a Medicare-approved Part D sponsor. Enrollment in these plans depends on the plan’s contract renewal with Medicare.