In recent years, the popularity of telehealth services has risen sharply. While telehealth was already becoming an increasingly popular option thanks to its convenience and cost-saving benefits well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the social distancing and move toward virtual solutions necessitated by the pandemic has only served to accelerate the demand for telehealth services.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits that telehealth offers and take a look at a few of the most common questions regarding telehealth so that you will know what to expect from your next virtual doctor visit.
What is Telehealth?
Telehealth is defined as the delivery of healthcare services and information via electronic means such as a phone call or a video conference. Since many issues only require a brief conversation with a doctor to resolve, telehealth services allow patients to converse with their doctor and receive healthcare information without actually having to schedule an in-person visit.
The Benefits of a Virtual Doctor Visit
To certain patients, telehealth services offer a number of key advantages. The first and most obvious advantage of telehealth when compared to an in-person appointment is the fact that a virtual doctor visit is typically far more convenient and less time-consuming for patients. For this reason, healthcare experts are hopeful that telehealth will encourage more patients to seek the medical care they need.
Another big benefit of telehealth for patients is the potential cost-saving benefits that a virtual doctor visit provides. In addition to helping patients avoid expenses associated with traveling to the doctor such as fuel, taking off work, and hiring a babysitter, telehealth services also tend to be more affordable outright. Since providing virtual services is less expensive to healthcare practices, many practices choose to offer telehealth services at a more affordable rate than the rate that those same services would cost if they were performed in person.
What You Can Expect From a Virtual Doctor Visit
It’s first important to note that not all healthcare practices offer telehealth services. While the number of practices that do offer such services is rapidly growing, there are still many practices that haven’t yet jumped on board. It’s also important to mention that not all healthcare issues can be resolved via a virtual doctor visit.
More serious medical problems often necessitate an in-person visit with a doctor. The good news, though, is that your doctor will be able to tell you ahead of time whether a telehealth or in-person appointment is best for your specific situation.
If you do find a healthcare practice that offers telehealth services and it is determined that a telehealth appointment is an appropriate course of action for your medical issue, you are sure to find the process of scheduling and attending a virtual doctor visit to be quite straightforward.
When you schedule a telehealth appointment, the healthcare practice you are scheduling it with will help you arrange a date for your appointment and a means of communication. They will also walk you through any questions you might have about how to access the virtual meeting with your doctor.
Once your virtual doctor visit begins, the rest of the process is quite similar to a standard doctor visit. While your doctor won’t be able to perform any tests or physical examinations, they will be able to ask questions, provide instructions, and even write prescriptions. This makes a virtual doctor visit an especially beneficial option for patients who need a doctor’s approval to renew their prescription but don’t otherwise need any additional medical attention.
How to Schedule a Telehealth Appointment
The only step in the process of scheduling a telehealth appointment is finding a healthcare practice that offers this service. Thankfully, such practices are becoming easier and easier to find as the popularity of telehealth services continues to grow.
Once you’ve found a healthcare practice that offers a virtual doctor visit as one of their treatment options, all that is left for you to do is to reach out and schedule an appointment with them. As we’ve already mentioned, telehealth is designed to expand healthcare services to underserved patients by being as convenient as possible. The process of scheduling and attending a virtual doctor visit, therefore, is likewise quite simple and convenient.
From reducing costs to taking up less time in your schedule, there are a number of benefits that telehealth provides. If you need to speak with a doctor but don’t have time for an in-person visit, scheduling a virtual doctor visit is certainly an excellent option to consider.