Seniors who enjoy chatting on the phone with friends or calling for takeout might not think about getting healthcare delivered in this way as well. Yet, telemedicine is an ideal option for those that want to avoid lengthy office visits while getting guidance from a medical professional. Consider some tips on telemedicine to better understand how to take advantage of this healthcare option.
Telemedicine is characterized by the process of using technology to receive healthcare from a physician. There are various modes of delivery for telemedicine visits for seniors, including phone calls, video chats and remote monitoring.
Physicians may use technology to render medical advice, engage in interactive healthcare and monitor patients from a remote location.
Medicare and other insurance companies may pay for telehealth, depending on the type of service being rendered and the reason for it. Currently, 26 states require health insurers to reimburse for certain services rendered through telehealth.
It is prudent for seniors interested in receiving telehealth services to check with their insurance providers prior to scheduling an appointment. This guards against surprise bills that could crop up if providers don't cover a specific service.
There are numerous health and medical situations that match well with telemedicine for seniors. For instance, if you are unsure of whether you need urgent care or not, you can utilize a telehealth appointment to make this decision.
A medical professional via video conferencing or phone can listen to your symptoms. Based on the information you provide, they may be able to determine if you need to head to the nearest emergency room or urgent care.
If your symptoms are not severe, a telehealth visit can provide care tips until you can get an appointment with your regular physician. In some cases, telehealth providers may be able to diagnose and provide treatment via the phone, calling a prescription into your local pharmacy.
Telehealth treatment is also ideal if you live in a rural area and experience hardships getting to medical appointments. These appointments mitigate last minute visits and provide an alternative to care provision if you have mobility issues.
If you have an immune condition that makes you more susceptible to infections from exposure to germs, telehealth treatment can create a safer avenue to care. In fact, this form of care has been shown to reduce hospital and urgent care visits in situations where they may not have been necessary.
Telehealth is also a good option for mental health care. If you need access to a counselor or want to describe mental symptoms to determine if you need to follow up with a mental health practitioner, telehealth is a discreet and private way to do just that.
If you have a cold or virus that seems to be lingering longer than usual, a visit with a telehealth professional can provide insight into whether you need to follow up with a physician.
Telemedicine is not an ideal option for disease management or complex diagnosis. Telemedicine is also not a substitute for in-person care. Rather, it is ideal to fill in the gaps between visits or to receive guidance when a medical appointment is not available. However, in-person visits are essential because it is the only way physicians can run tests, analyze lab results and make physical determinations about your health.
This is the reason that, for seniors, it is still important to retain the services of a local physician to manage acute medical issues as well as ongoing care.
If you struggle with technology, telehealth might also be a frustrating option for you. While it is possible to grasp the technical tools necessary to make a telehealth visit happen, you may have to plan for a bit of a learning curve initially.
If you require a prescription for medication, especially one of pain, this is not a good avenue to pursue. Telehealth providers generally provide prescriptions for traditional antibiotics and some other forms of medication, but they might not be willing to prescribe other treatments without seeing you in person.
Moreover, if you need a prescription for a new medication to manage a chronic condition, telehealth is not necessarily the avenue to pursue. The reason these providers avoid prescribing new medications for chronic conditions is because they do not have a full accounting of your medical record and cannot be there to monitor the possible side effects of a new medicine.
Despite some of the drawbacks, telehealth is being touted as the future of medicine for seniors. It offers convenience and care to those who may not be able to physically access it.
Residents at Broadmoor Court, Colorado Springs, CO, also have access to knowledgeable staff members that can assist in determining if telemedicine is the best option to manage your health or provide on-site evaluations to help you understand if you should seek in-person care from your provider.