While telehealth has been around for a few years now, the global Coronavirus pandemic shot it into high gear. The World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11th, 2020—by the 27th of that same month, telehealth visits in the United States had skyrocketed 154% according to data from the CDC.
We’re now a year into the pandemic, and many doctor’s offices and urgent care facilities have resumed in-person appointments. Even so, there are plenty of benefits to choosing an online medical practice visit over an in-person one.
Not sure whether your next physical should take place in-person or over a video chat? Keep reading for some of the most convincing reasons to visit an online medical practice.
High Quality of Care
Some people have reservations about visiting an online medical practice because they aren’t sure they’ll get the same level of care they would if they visited in person. Thankfully, that assumption is false.
The doctors and nurses that make up a telehealth team are fully licensed, and they’re just as capable and experienced as traditional providers. In fact, many online medical practices also offer in-person appointments. You might even be able to schedule a virtual visit with a doctor you’ve already seen in the past.
Wide Variety of Services
Another hesitation that some patients have regarding telehealth is wondering whether they’ll be able to get the right type of care. While it’s true that there are some appointments you can’t have over video chat, the majority of doctor visits can happen via telehealth.
Some conditions you can address in an appointment with an online medical practice include:
- Seasonal and environmental allergies
- Mild to moderate asthma symptoms
- Muscle strains
- Back pain
- Upper respiratory infections (bronchitis, common cold, sinus infections)
- Pink eye
- Mild cases of the flu
- UTIs, yeast infections, or painful urination
- Minor injuries (small burns or cuts)
- Dermatitis and skin rashes
- Unexpected weight changes
- Non-emergent mental health concerns
- Unusual skin presentations (suspicious moles, etc.)
Many of these initial consultations could require an in-person follow-up for lab work or other tests. Even so, after talking with you your provider may feel comfortable prescribing medications or advising you on the next steps to take.
One important note: virtual doctor visits work well for urgent concerns, but not for emergent ones. If you’re experiencing a true medical emergency, don’t schedule a telehealth visit. Call 911 or visit the emergency room right away instead.
Round-the-Clock, Location Independent Service
One of the largest downsides to visiting a traditional family medical practice is their limited schedule. Doctor’s offices are often only open during normal business hours. If they do offer appointments on an evening or weekend, open slots can be hard to come by—especially if you have to schedule last minute.
This situation means that many people are forced to go without medical care. Perhaps they can’t take time off of work, their commute is too far to make it by the end of the workday, or they’re a full-time student that can’t miss class. Others still may not have any access to reliable transportation.
Regardless of the reason, difficult scheduling and lack of transportation are massive barriers to healthcare access. That’s why most online medical practices operate outside of normal business hours.
If you get sick late at night or need a prescription refilled on a weekend, you’ll be able to request an immediate appointment, no matter where you are. Visit this site to discover more about how having 24-hour email and helpline service can help.
Avoid Exposure to Illness
It’s no secret that going to the doctor carries some risk of infection. No matter how thoroughly the team cleans and sanitizes their office, there’s always the chance that a sick patient could pass their germs along to you while you’re there.
This is especially concerning when you’re seeing your physician for a well-visit or to get treatment for a non-infectious condition. You don’t want to show up healthy and leave with a cold!
Telehealth visits are great because they minimize risks in two directions. First, you won’t be exposed to anyone else’s germs during your appointment. Second, if you are seeking advice for an infection, you won’t pass it along to anyone else.
Do you put off seeing a doctor for as long as possible because you aren’t sure you can afford a visit? If so, scheduling a telehealth visit is a fantastic option.
Because they don’t involve the overhead of hosting a patient in-office, virtual doctor’s appointments are often far cheaper than normal visits. If you have health insurance, check your plan details as well. Many plans will cover most or all of the cost of a telehealth appointment, even if they don’t do the same for other appointments.
The reduced financial burden means you don’t have to wait until your medical problems are severe before seeking treatment. This also gives you the chance to catch severe problems early, which could save you thousands in medical bills.
Getting Excellent Care From an Online Medical Practice
Next time you need a doctor, consider visiting a telehealth clinic instead of searching the web for “medical practice near me”. Not only can you access service outside of normal business hours, but you can also avoid exposure to other illnesses. And, because you’ll be working with real doctors and nurses, you can rest assured that you’ll still receive excellent care.
Are you curious about other ways to take care of your health and wellbeing? Keep reading through our site for more helpful content like this.