These days we’re all doing everything we can to remain healthy and stay safe with the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). Staying inside as much as possible. Keeping our distance from others when we do step outside. Washing our hands several times a day. But life goes on and illness happens. In times like these, Telemedicine is more than a convenience. It’s a huge asset to the healthcare system and patients.
Keeping Patients Out of Crowded Medical Facilities
In some parts of the country, hospitals and doctor’s offices are bursting at the seams. Telemedicine practitioners can make medical assessments and evaluate a patient’s risk, without an in-person visit.
This can reduce pressure on an already overworked healthcare system. And for patients, it means they don’t have to visit a crowded medical facility where there can be all kinds of germs.
Virtual Care as Good as In-Person Care
Should telemedicine providers identify an illness or infection that isn’t COVID-19, they can provide treatment, prescribe medication, and advise patients on ways to relieve symptoms, so you can feel better without risking a trip to the doctor.
Telemedicine providers can also provide virtual care options for many COVID-19 cases, to help victims of non-severe cases stay out of crowded hospitals.
A Faster, Safer, More Convenient Wait for the Visit.
Generally, the waiting time for a telemedicine visit is under 30 minutes, but these days, it may be longer. But you’re not with other patients in an office waiting room. You’re at home and safe.
What If Doctors Suspect COVID-19?
Telemedicine doctors work with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and state and local health officials. They are well-equipped to identify a suspected COVID‐19 case, but in many cases, do not write orders for testing.
Many telemedicine physicians will advise individuals who they believe have contracted the virus to call their local physician or contact their state’s public health hotline. For specific information about testing in your state, you can go use the CDC’s COVID-19 Self Assessment Tool.
Call Your Local Doctor if You Have Trouble Breathing
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing are more severe symptoms that require in-person evaluations. This is when you should call your local healthcare provider, not a telemedicine provider. Your local healthcare provider will be better able to direct you to the facility best able to provide testing and prepare for your visit.
Working Together to Fight the Pandemic
These days we’re all doing our part to keep ourselves and those around us healthy. You can do yours by using Teladoc or another telemedicine provider when possible, instead of visiting an already crowded medical office.
About the Author
Paul Pevsner, M.D. is the president of Alliance Direct Benefits. The alliance provides union members and their families with affordable health, travel and education benefits. These benefits include 24/7 telemedicine access, emergency medical assistance, free or low-cost legal services, and more. Learn more at alliancediretbenefits.com.