Medical Minutes: Answers to frequently asked questions
Dr. Karen Burnett
Question: WHAT IS TELEMEDICINE?
Telemedicine, telehealth, E-visits, E-health, Patient Portals….what in the world does this mean? Technology has opened the door to a new way of practicing medicine. Whether it’s by phone, video chat, email or texting, telemedicine refers to the broad range of medical services that are enhanced by using technology.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
It’s easy! Your provider calls, you answer, the visit ensues! These visits can be held over the phone or over a video application. Both parties would have to have the same app downloaded on their device. Your provider will tell you which application to use.
DOES INSURANCE PAY?
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, are covering televisits. The system requirements and applications covered vary per plan.
WHY USE TELEMEDICINE?
During these unprecedented times of the COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders telemedicine allows providers to continue to offer visits while keeping the patient safe at home and the provider safe in the office.
Will Telemedicine continue in the future?
Telemedicine is the wave of the future. For working people who cannot leave the job site, setting a time for the provider to call can be a convenient way to get your visit done on your terms. The busy mom would not have to bundle up all 3 kids into the car to get to the doctor’s office to look at just one kid’s rash. The elderly or the immunocompromised patient would not have to sit in the waiting room risking infection. Some prescriptions can even be filled with telemedicine. Your provider can tell you whether an office visit is necessary.