When you’re sick, the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and head to the doctor’s office. And if you get sick suddenly, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get an appointment when you need it. Enter telemedicine or virtual medicine. Just pick up the phone to get the care you need.
Telemedicine and virtual medicine allow you on-demand access to board-certified doctors through online video, phone or secure email. For a copay, you can be treated for various ailments without leaving your home. It’s especially useful for after-hours non-emergency care, when your primary care doctor is unavailable, if you need prescriptions or refills or if you’re traveling. These physicians can also share your information with your primary care doctor with your consent.
Telemedicine began about fifty years ago as a way for doctors to treat patients located in remote areas or places with a shortage of doctors. Today, it’s a tool for convenient care, allowing less wait and travel time and immediate care for minor but urgent conditions.
What conditions are typically treated through telemedicine and virtual medicine?
Cold and flu
Infections like urinary tract and respiratory
It’s important to note that emergency medical situations and serious conditions should not be treated through telemedicine. For many issues, in-person doctor visits with a physical exam are still necessary. Some states also do not allow doctors to prescribe medications — specifically pain medications — via telemedicine or virtual medicine.
Check with your employer and see if telemedicine or virtual medicine is part of your coverage. Next time you’re feeling under the weather, you might not even have to leave your home!