As technology advances, our world becomes more and more interconnected. While not long ago we had to use mail and the telegraph to communicate with others over a long distance, now you can call your friend and see their face over FaceTime with the push of a button.
In fact, we’ve now reached the point where you can schedule virtual doctor appointments for your kids, making care more accessible than ever.
Although telemedicine is revolutionizing the way our healthcare system works, utilizing online health services can be intimidating if you aren’t tech-savvy. Luckily, whether you’re skeptical about telemedicine or just want to know more about how it can help you and your family, we’ve outlined a comprehensive guide about how telemedicine works below.
Simply put, telemedicine is technology-assisted health communication. Oftentimes, telemedicine includes remote appointments, remote health monitoring (RHM) and online patient portals.
Telehealth appointments are particularly helpful if you have a busy schedule and are struggling to arrange healthcare appointments for your kids.
Telemedicine makes healthcare more accessible for families. When finding time for in-person appointments becomes difficult between taking the kids to school and going to work, scheduling a virtual appointment can be a lifesaver.
You may also be able to save money when taking advantage of telemedicine options. Insurance companies often offer remote resources where you’re able to chat with doctors at no cost or for an affordable fee.
Additionally, remote health monitoring provides aid to those suffering from chronic health conditions. This process helps to gather vital information needed for the well-being of the patient. If telemedicine was unavailable, patients would have to spend significantly more time in an in-person setting, causing inconvenience.
Furthermore, online patient portals give parents and children instant access to important health records. Details about their health plans, test results and future appointments can all usually be accessed from the patient portal.
While insurance providers often cover forms of telemedicine, it ultimately varies depending on your provider and plan. If you’re unsure whether or not your insurance covers telemedicine, contact your insurance representative and ask.
In some cases, insurance providers feature their own chat services and hotlines that allow you to connect instantly with healthcare professionals. This can be helpful for when you’re worried about a routine problem such as a sore throat or congestion.
If you haven’t had a virtual healthcare appointment before, then it can take some getting used to. Luckily, the process isn’t too complicated.
In fact, virtual appointments are pretty similar to in-person appointments, with only a few minor differences. To help you prepare for your first virtual appointment, simply follow the steps below.
Just like with an in-person appointment, it’s important that you gather any relevant medical information. Having this documentation on hand can help your doctor to make a correct diagnosis and speed the process of the appointment.
If you aren’t sure what documents you should bring for you or your child, you may want to call your healthcare provider’s office ahead of time to ask. Common required items include your insurance card, your vaccination records, and your social security number.
When it’s time for your virtual appointment, the last thing you want is to experience technical difficulties. These issues could lead to your appointment taking longer or being postponed altogether.
To ensure your appointment goes smoothly, simply acquaint yourself with your technology and make sure everything is in working order. If your appointment is going to be held over an app, make sure you know how to log in beforehand. You should also check that you have a stable internet connection and that your microphone and camera are functioning properly.
If you aren’t particularly tech-savvy, don’t panic. Contact a friend or family member to get their help (your kids may even be helpful in this department). In the worst-case scenario, just show up to the appointment and ask your doctor for technical assistance.
Telehealth professionals are often familiar with technical issues and can help guide you through any troubleshooting steps.
Ideally, you want your space to be distraction-free at the time of your appointment. If you’re planning an appointment for one of your kids, make sure your other family members are aware that they will need their space and some peace and quiet.
When you’re choosing a space for the appointment, keep in mind that the doctor may need to see parts of their patient’s body during the call. This means that you want your space to be well-lit and private. Try to set up your equipment in a private area with natural lighting that has plenty of space for movement.
Since your doctor will not be seeing you or your child in-person, your appointment is going to rely heavily on verbal communication. That said, you’ll want to write down a list of your or your child’s symptoms and any questions or concerns you have ahead of time.
The better you’re able to paint a picture of your concerns for your doctor, the more accurate their diagnosis will be.
When it comes to keeping you and your family healthy, telemedicine can serve you well. Just remember to familiarize yourself with your technology and communicate well with your doctor. If you aren’t sure whether your insurance covers telemedicine, simply ask your insurance provider to find out about your options. For more information about getting started with telemedicine, check out RetireGuide’s infographic below.
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