Telemedicine…aligning needs of patients and providers

Telemedicine…aligning needs of patients and providers

| Telehealth

One of the most important elements in being an educated consumer of healthcare services is to understand the various models of how care can be delivered. We have become so accustomed to having an in-person visit with the doctor, that most people are unaware of the option of meeting with their doctor via a video call. This is not to say that in-person visits are not necessary, quite to the contrary, they are vital checkpoints that allow the doctor to perform a physical exam, including your routine annual physical.


In-Person Doctor Visits VS Telemedicine

  1. However, there are conditions that can be managed just as easily via video visits, termed more frequently Telemedicine. It is estimated that about 70% of doctor visits can be handled safely via Telemedicine, which is in line with the old medical school adage that 90% of the diagnosis is in the history, or conversation with the patient. Studies have shown that the average face to face time for most in-person doctor visits is about 5 min, whereas it is about 15min on a Telemedicine visit because the doctor is forced to look at the screen and thus spend time with you, the patient, rather than simply looking through your electronic medical record on the computer.

  2. Telemedicine can be an amazingly convenient way to obtain care. When was the last time you got a doctor’s appointment that was convenient for you? Usually you take the best appointment and then juggle things around to make room in your day. An average office visit usually takes at least 2 ½ hours, when you include driving to the clinic, sitting in the waiting room, filling out paperwork, waiting for the doctor in the exam room, having a brief conversation, going through the checkout process, and then driving back from the office. Your Telemedicine visit is 15-min from the convenience of wherever you may be….now you can see your doctor easily without having to make arrangements with family or work obligations.

  3. Telemedicine can be an effective way to obtain urgent care for things like cough, sore throat, rashes, urinary symptoms, etc., but also for routine care like medication management, or follow-up with your primary care physician after a visit to the hospital. Many surgeons like to evaluate their post-operative patients 1-2 weeks after surgery to quickly assess the surgical wound. This could also be conveniently performed via Telemedicine.


Importance Of Telemedicine

It is also important to have a service that ensures you are not paying unnecessarily for the Telemedicine visit, and then being told that you have to go for an in-person visit as well. This is why the Telemedicine service provided to all WoW Care Plan members includes a call from a navigator. This call allows us to screen your condition and collect any necessary information, like your pharmacy of choice. It allows us to resolve your concern 95% of the time without needing any further visits!

This is why everyone should be enrolled in a plan like the WoW Care Plan which gives you access to virtual services that you can obtain no matter where you home, work, or vacation. At $20 per visit, it sure beats the office copay plus a deductible that arrives six weeks later costing you over $100.

Next time we will present a solution to another crisis in our communities, lack of mental health resources.