- Do you dislike seeing the doctor?
- Do you often go a long time between visits?
- Is it inconvenient or difficult to see your physician?
- Or maybe you just want to get your prescription refilled without any hassle?
Whatever the case may be, there’s an easy way to address your non-emergency medical concerns. Telemedicine—remote treatment of non-emergency medical conditions/ailments by licensed doctors—is the easiest way to consult with a doctor about your health concerns from the convenience and safety of your own home. But how does it work?
Selecting A Telemedicine Provider
Choosing a telemedicine provider is like choosing most things in life—it requires research, looking into the company’s reputation, and understanding what others have experienced. It can also come down to other factors like cost and what conditions they can treat. Here are a few things to look for while looking for a telemedicine provider:
- Privacy and HIPAA compliance
- List of conditions they treat
- List of doctors
- Do they offer prescription services?
- Do they take your insurance?
- Is it easy to book an appointment?
- Ease of use
- Whether they offer specialty treatment
- Focusing on your health instead of money
- Informed consent
Your own insurance may be able to help you find a good telemedicine provider. There are plenty of options available so a little bit of research goes a long way. Once you’ve found one, it’s time to set up your appointment.
Setting Up An Appointment
With most telemedicine services, setting up an appointment for your online doctor visit is easy and intuitive. All it takes is visiting the provider’s website and starting the process. It will vary based on the provider, but they universally ask for the same types of information. Prospective patients will need to provide insurance information and the state in which you’re located. Some providers let you filter the list of available doctors to just in-network doctors. Then you can book the appointment. Once it’s booked, you’ll likely need to provide some medical background and information about your symptoms in addition to the reason for booking the appointment in the first place.
Preparing For The Appointment
Once you’ve booked the appointment, it’s time to get ready. It helps if you have personal medical devices on hand to take your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse. You may also need to provide information about your weight and pre-existing health conditions. Get all of your important medical information together and be honest during the call. It’s prudent to also disclose any major medical issues you or any family members have dealt with in the past. Write down any questions or symptoms you have so you can readily communicate them with your doctor. For the appointment itself, find a quiet space to take the call. Make sure it’s private and secure. Test your audio/video equipment prior to the meeting just to make sure everything works. Headphones might be a better bet than speakers, but you should definitely have a decent, working microphone. The same goes for if you’re doing a standard phone call instead of a video call.
What Happens During The Appointment
Telemedicine appointments typically get straight to the point in an attempt to get patients help fast. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and communicate with you directly about your concerns. After consulting with you, they’ll put their knowledge and training to the task of diagnosing your condition. Then they’ll prescribe a treatment and help you develop a treatment plan. They’ll explain their diagnosis, common causes, and may make suggestions about what types of medicine you may take for the condition. Finally, they might generate a prescription that you can pick up from your local pharmacy. Following the appointment, detailed information about what you and the doctor discussed should be made available to you.
Getting Your Prescriptions
Getting prescriptions filled is easy and convenient with telemedicine. When you book your appointment, you’ll be prompted to choose a pharmacy where the doctor can send your scripts. Ensure you select the correct area code and state for your local pharmacy and see if it’s in their provider network. If not, you may have to choose an alternate pharmacy. Either way, it’ll still go to a local one that’s near your home. Typical prescriptions are medicines like nasal spray, inhalers, antibiotics, and cold medicine. They can’t prescribe controlled substances. To find out what their prescription restrictions (it varies by state) are, check the provider’s information database or FAQ, or simply ask the doctor. Most telemedicine providers can also refill a 90-day prescription with an additional virtual doctor’s appointment.