Telemedicine is the ability to perform and practice medicine using telecommunications technologies to deliver care at a distance. It’s when the physician is in one location while the patient is receiving expert care at another location. Telehealth is the broader term for remote health care services, while Telemedicine refers to remote clinical services.
How does Telemedicine work?
Telemedicine works when the patient and physician have access to a computer or smartphone and communicate with each other to discuss the patient’s health issue. It makes it possible for the physician to treat patients whenever and wherever the patient is.
When should I consider Telemedicine?
- When you are in quarantine and experience health problems
- When you feel ill and want to talk to a physician but there are bad weather conditions outside making you unable to leave your home
- When you need a faster refill for short-term medical prescriptions such as allergy medication
- When you have underlying health issues during the holidays, weekends, late nights or any other situations when traditional medical care is not possible
- When you are on vacation and think you’re becoming ill
What are the steps needed to perform Telemedicine?
- The patient feels ill and traditional medical care is not possible
- The patient calls a toll-free number or uses an online account to request a remote appointment to the physician
- The patient submits basic information about their condition to inform the physician
- The physician either accepts, denies or schedules the appointment for the future
- During the appointment, the physician and patient communicate the patient’s needs and find a solution to help the patient
When can’t Telemedicine be performed?
Telemedicine is not appropriate for immediate emergencies such as a heart attack, stroke, broken bones, splints or anything that requires hands-on physical care from a doctor. On the contrary, Telemedicine is ideal for simple fixes and follow-up consultations.
What are the common types of Telemedicine?
There are three common types of Telemedicine, they are the following:
- Interactive Medicine which is when the patient and physician communicate in real-time
- Remote Patient Monitoring which is when caregivers monitor patients who use their mobile devices to collect data like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc.
- Store and Forward which is when providers share a patient’s health information with the physician or other healthcare professional
Does my insurance cover telemedicine?
It depends on your health care provider, insurance plan and state. For example, some insurance companies value telemedicine and pay for your services, whereas some others are not that progressive. In addition, some states have parity laws that require insurance companies to reimburse you at the same rate as in-person care.
Unfortunately, Florida is one of the states that does not have parity laws. Talk to your health care provider and insurance representative if you are unsure your insurance plan covers telemedicine.
Can telemedicine be used with global reimbursements?
Yes, telemedicine can be used with global reimbursements. They can cover all services related to a condition or event because the health care provider has the ability to decide how to deliver their services.