Nicholas R. Maxellt
Telehealth – Telemedicine - Virtual Care: These titles may indicate some difference in services offered, but they all are ways to access medical care remotely. Without the need to make an appointment, leave your home, or wait in a waiting room full of sick people, you can get solutions to minor medical issues and even get prescriptions. Sky- rocketing medical costs and difficulties getting an appointment with a physician are reasons many industry insiders see telehealth as an important part of the future. In most cases, copays are far less than the ER, or urgent care, and even less than the cost to see the family doctor. It makes sense to incorporate telehealth among your options to receive care. Not every company’s health plan is currently offering telehealth, but the majority do at about 80%. Unfortunately, utilization rates are barely reaching 15% nationally.
Telehealth isn’t going to solve all our health care delivery troubles, but it can certainly be a help. It is a great first stop for non-emergency care after normal working hours, when the emergency room is notoriously and inappropriately used. It is a great option when away on vacation, need to get a prescription, or just don’t have the time to make an appointment with your doctor. In addition to basic medical care, many vendors offer nutrition advice, psychiatry, and mental health services which can be extremely difficult to access, especially if you are a new patient. Ask your plan administrator or carrier if telehealth is offered and give it a try.