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| May 1, 2020
You’ve probably heard the term “telemedicine,” but you may not be familiar with what it means. Put simply, telemedicine gives you access to virtual medical and behavioral health visits, via phone or video chat, with licensed health care professionals. Instead of traveling to see your doctor and sitting in a crowded waiting room, you’re instantly connected using your computer, tablet or smartphone for a visit, without putting yourself at risk for exposure to COVID-19.
Telemedicine has quickly moved from being a helpful tool to a vital channel for our health care system. Virtual visits with health care professionals may help limit the spread of disease, and can also be an option for individuals who are following social distancing guidelines to check in with a health care provider. But, perhaps most importantly, if you have concerns related to COVID-19, you can connect with a health care provider from home to determine whether you need to see a doctor or be tested.
“By using virtual care for much regular, necessary medical care, and deferring elective procedures or annual checkups, we free up medical staff and equipment needed for those who become seriously ill from COVID-19,” wrote Lee H. Schwamm, a neurologist Massachusetts General Hospital, in an article for Harvard Health Publishing.
Today, it’s more critical than ever that you take steps that don’t put you at risk. And telemedicine is a smart solution that can help you avoid unnecessary visits to the doctor’s office, urgent care, or the ER. From live video conferencing to remote monitoring, there are many ways to make telemedicine work for you.
25 ways you can use telemedicine
1. Discuss symptoms such as a fever or cough
2. Put a plan in place with a health care professional that addresses how and where to seek help or testing
3. Remotely follow up with your PCP after an initial visit
4. Manage nausea and vomiting from your home
5. Get immediate treatment and advice for minor conditions like sinus infections
6. Assess hives and rashes
7. Manage urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections
8. Get help managing migraines
9. Get support for joint pain
10. Assess minor injuries (scrapes, cuts, etc.)
11. Refill allergy prescriptions (such as epinephrine autoinjectors)
12. Refill birth control prescriptions
13. Check in with your doctor to manage a chronic illness
14. Review and discuss multiple medications all at once with your doctor
15. Ask about which generic medications are safe for you to use
16. Schedule (or reschedule) non-emergency appointments with your health care team
17. Consult with a lactation specialist after giving birth
18. Check in with a provider after outpatient surgery
19. Get support to stop smoking
20. Get support for recovery from addiction
21. Speak with a mental or behavioral health professional from the privacy of your home
22. Learn stress management techniques you can use anywhere
23. Get screened for common mental health problems, such as anxiety or depression
24. Talk with a therapist if you’ve experienced a miscarriage
25. Meet with a family counselor for marriage or family counseling
Watch this video to learn about ways you can use telemedicine that you may not know about:
Not sure whether your provider offers telemedicine services? Many states have asked health plans to extend their coverage and access to telemedicine services for their members during this time. Visit Harvard Pilgrim’s site to see how they are handling coverage for its members.