What It’s Like to Visit With a Doctor Online

What It’s Like to Visit With a Doctor Online

Posted by & filed under Health Informatics, telemedicine, online doctor's visits, remote medicine, healthcare technolgoies.

Times are definitely changing – the Internet and innovations in technology has revolutionized how we interact and communicate with one another, and more changes are constantly changing changing and improving these systems. Grandparents are even getting a dose of today’s world by talking with faraway grandchildren using Skype and Facebook. The same changes are also being witnessed in the medical industry. More and more medical practices are turning to electronic medical records implementation and health informatics, which means patients can now review their medical histories and records online.

Implementing electronic health records has made it easier for patients to obtain care from specialists and physicians they seek for health concerns. This beats having to wait for the office to fax over your records before receiving services, as used to be the case before medical files can simply be sent electronically at the push of a button. Health care providers are now able to learn everything about a new patient by simply looking at their record on the digital database. Implementing medical records companies have made this process a seamless one; any doctor’s office can do it, all they have to do is install medical case management software to keep track of all of their patients’ files.

The digital era has also made medical care more convenient for both doctors and patients. We are seeing more and more physicians offering visits online. This is a new type of visit that some people are still growing accustomed to, but it’s definitely gaining traction among the young and old. Those who are just hearing about this trend may be wondering what happens during these online sessions. If this is you, continue reading.

How to Get an Online Visit

Some physicians offer online doctor’s visits and others don’t (yet). If you are interested in telemedicine and communicating with your doctor over a video chat, then you will have to find a provider that offers this service within your insurance network. The fees for digital visits won’t break the bank, either, so even those without premium insurance coverage can afford it. On average, these visits cost about $40 for a brief ten minute visit.

This can be obtained at almost any time. For instance, say you have a rash that you’re worried about, but don’t want to wait days for an appointment with your regular primary care physician. You can jump online and consult with a practitioner who offers same-day online visits. You get onto your Web cam and show the doctor your rash, then answer some questions and by the end of the day, you can have a prescription for a cream that will ease the itchiness and pain.

Why Visit a Doctor Online?

Online office visits are very convenient for a lot of people today because of the busy lives that we lead. It’s also convenient for doctors who are jam-packed with back-o-back visits from patients. This helps to reduce time spent on in-house office visits for minor issues.

The patients also get to save time and money that would have otherwise been spent driving to and parking at the doctor’s office. It also reduces the chances of germs and bacteria spreading to others – if you don’t have to leave your house to ask about your rash then you won’t be at risk of catching someone else’s flu bug. Also, the cost for online visits are a fraction of the cost of a visit to the emergency room or an urgent care clinic. Some are as cheap as just $25 to $30.

Certain insurance providers will reimburse you for online doctor visits. So far, only 29 states require insurance companies to offer reimbursement for online doctor visits, but there are another 15 states that are considering passing similar laws.

Managing a Shortage of Doctors

There is little doubt in the medical community that the US healthcare industry is facing a shortage of doctors and medical practitioners, making it harder for patients to get timely access to medical care. The rising popularity of online doctor visits has eased this issue, allowing more people to be seen quickly and affordably. This is especially the case in rural areas, since most doctors open up practices in highly populated cities. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, it’s projected that the U.S. will be short over 50,000 doctors by the year 2025. This includes specialists, physicians and surgeons. This is going to have a tremendous impact on an aging population that requires services from these professionals.

Companies Offer Telehealth to Employees

In 2015, the number of employers offering telemedicine to workers increased by a third. There are another 80 percent of companies looking to do the same thing by 2018. Doing so could help save the health care industry over $6 billion annually. This is due to the number of ER visits decreasing by 15 percent, and urgent care visits decreasing by 37 percent.