The concept of telehealth has been around for a long time, but it gained massive acceptance during the pandemic, when health care professionals were trying to keep patients and their caregivers safe, and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Telehealth, also known as telemedicine, refers to a health care appointment from the comfort of your couch—no visit to a doctor’s physical office needed. It can happen by video or simply by phone, allowing for convenience and ease for the patient, the caregiver and the health care provider.
Have you made a telemedicine appointment for your loved one? Here are some reasons to consider doing so today. It might be even easier than you think!
- Telehealth doesn’t require a commute. The journey to get to a medical appointment is frequently longer than the appointment, itself. Along the way, you could encounter traffic, vehicle crashes, poor weather and the anxiety of being late. Plus, you have to help your loved one get to and from the vehicle (or public transportation) and into the medical facility. With a telehealth appointment, you simply click on a link and you’re connected with your provider. It’s as simple as that!
- Telehealth allows you to connect with providers and specialists far away. If you have to show up to an appointment in person, distance matters. If you’re joining an appointment virtually, it’s irrelevant whether the provider is located in your town or across the state. Telehealth is an ideal way of transporting you to different cities and towns, without ever leaving your home. This can be especially helpful for caregivers and patients in rural areas, who may not have easy access to doctors and specialists nearby.
- Telehealth keeps you safe. Whether you or your loved one has a compromised immune system, or you simply don’t want to be exposed to contagious illnesses such as COVID-19, the flu and even a common cold, telemedicine allows you to stay home, away from germs that could potentially make you sick.
- With telehealth, you don’t have to wait in a sterile waiting room. We’ve all been there: the wait stretches to a half hour, then a full hour as you sit in a room, surrounded by anxious strangers, wondering why you make appointment times if a doctor doesn’t have to stick to them. Telemedicine takes that waiting room out of the equation, and allows you to relax in your own home in case of a delay.
- Telehealth makes it easier for caregivers to participate in the appointment. Whether you’re living in the same home or in another city, telemedicine makes it easy to attend any and all health care appointments with your loved one. By joining an appointment virtually, you can hear updates directly from the health care provider, ask questions, share concerns and stay involved.
- With telehealth, you don’t need to miss work or arrange for childcare to make it to an appointment. To join your loved one in their appointment, all you need is a quiet, private room. Once the appointment is complete, you can immediately return to your obligations.
- Telehealth may shorten the wait time for an appointment. Because of the convenience factor, with telehealth you may be able to nab an appointment more quickly than you otherwise would. Rather than waiting weeks or months to see a doctor, you may be able to get in within the week—or even that same day.
What does telehealth cover?
It’s true that telehealth isn’t a fit for everything. For many types of healthcare, including emergencies and certain types of testing and diagnostics, it’s critical that you go to a hospital or doctor’s office for a full and proper evaluation of the issue at hand. But telehealth is a fit for more scenarios than you might expect! The United States Government’s Health Resources and Services Administration says that the following services could be a fit for telehealth (find out more here):
- Physical therapy and occupational therapy
- Post-surgical follow-up
- Care for illnesses such as colds, coughs and stomach problems
- Mental health assessment and treatment, such as therapy, counseling and management of medications
- Migraines, urinary tract infections and other recurring conditions
- Skin conditions
- Prescription medicine management
- Consultations about lab tests or x-ray results
- Treatment and follow-up appointments for conditions such as attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
Being a caregiver isn’t easy. It’s a lot of responsibility and takes a lot of time. By finding ways to make it easier on yourself and your loved one, you may be able to diminish stress and anxiety. And by embracing the technology that allows for telehealth, you could make more time to do the things you enjoy together, rather than traveling to another medical appointment.